VIU program to spark employment

Vancouver Island University is recruiting eligible students for tuition-free employment programs starting in the new year.

Vancouver Island University is recruiting students for four tuition-free employment training programs starting in the new year

Vancouver Island University is recruiting eligible students for tuition-free employment programs starting in the new year.

The programs are designed to help unemployed people get back into the workforce, and employed individuals requiring skills upgrading to improve their job prospects.

“VIU has received upwards of $700,000 this year under the provincial Employment Skills Access Program to deliver training in four areas including shellfish aquaculture, culinary arts, marine operator, and leadership and capacity building for First Nations,” said Marion Knost, manager of contract training for VIU.

The free training sessions will be offered at VIU’s Nanaimo, Cowichan and Powell River campuses, and at the Parksville/Qualicum Centre.

All tuition and material costs for participants are funded through the ESA initiative. Transportation and living allowance are the participants’ responsibility.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals who face financial and training-related barriers,” said Knost.

Knost said a six-week shellfish aquaculture technician training program builds awareness and teaches participants basic skills needed in the shellfish industry.

A 12-week introduction to culinary arts program – including a two-week practicum placement – provides students with the skills and knowledge required to fill entry-level culinary and food service positions.

Traditional aboriginal teachings and practices around food harvesting and preparation will be integrated into the curriculum and learning experience.

The three-week marine operator training program includes foundation training and then focuses on building awareness and skill training to meet the standards for gaining employment in the marine industry.

The fourth program is an 18-day leadership and capacity building skills course for First Nations students which teaches practical skills necessary for locating and maintaining meaningful employment.

“We hope to submit funding proposals to the B.C. government early in the new year,” she said.

Vancouver Island University is one of 15 universities and colleges in B.C. receiving funding for skills training through the province’s ESA program.  Funding comes from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement through the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation.

The ESA program is open to people who are unemployed and not currently receiving employment insurance benefits, and have not received EI in the past three years for a regular claim, or the past five years for a maternity/parental claim.

Eligible applicants also include people currently working but have not completed high school, or have completed high school but have no post-secondary education toward a degree or recognized certification or credential.

VIU is accepting applications for the tuition-free employment programs on an ongoing basis.

For more details, please e-mail Pam Botterill at or call 250-618-7748.

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