Surrey Business News
More Inclusive Workforce to Advance Tech Sector in BC
People under-represented in BC’S growing technology and engineering sectors, including women, Indigenous peoples, immigrants and people with disabilities, will have better opportunities and advancement through new government-supported initiatives.
Provincial funding of up to $2.2 million over two years will break down barriers through pilot projects, such as mentorship for employees, and resources and training for employers. Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, made the announcement on behalf of Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, at Powertech Labs in Surrey.
“An inclusive and respectful workplace will cultivate ambitions in people and allow employees to advance their career,” said Mark.
“The rapidly growing tech sector has thousands of job openings that it needs to fill, but it needs to be more inclusive of people who are all too often ignored. We’re working hard to give people the skills to succeed in the tech sector so together, we can build the best BC.”
BC’S tech sector continues to grow rapidly but has a projected talent shortfall and low levels of diversity and representation from key groups, including women, people with disabilities and Indigenous peoples, a 2017 report, Diversity & Inclusion in the BC Tech Sector, found.
“British Columbia’s tech industry is thriving, but for companies to continue to innovate and grow, they need access to a diverse pool of skilled workers,” said Ralston. “STEM plays an important role in growing BC’S economy. With these pilot projects in place, we will be able to build a more diverse workforce that will help strengthen and enrich the sector with a range of experiences, knowledge and perspectives.”
The pilot projects will be managed by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) and HR Tech Group. The projects will look at how best to attract, retain and support career advancement of equity-seeking groups in BC’S technology workforce.
Support for the projects is through the Sector Labour Market Partnership (SLMP) program. SLMP projects are funded through the Canadabc Labour Market Development Agreement and help industry and employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands.