Nanaimo-based air compressor manufacturer, VMAC Global Technologies, was the site for a signing event Wednesday between the province and federal government.
Pierre Poilievre, federal minister of employment and social development, signed a memorandum of understanding with Michelle Stilwell, B.C. minister of social development and social innovation, and Shirley Bond, B.C. minister of jobs, tourism and skills training and minister responsible for labour, finalizing approval for re-tooling the existing federal-provincial job training deal.
As part of the Employment Insurance system, the federal government transfers more than $2 billion annually to the provinces and territories through labour market development agreements, for skills training to people who are unemployed.
The modified deal aims to get unemployed people into skills training and available jobs faster by directly engaging employers who best know what jobs are coming available and the skills needed.
“We’ve vastly increased the eligibility to those training dollars to include people who are not receiving E.I. benefits, so… people who are on social assistance and not on E.I. will be eligible to receive these training and job matching interventions,” Poilievre said.
The B.C. government spends $331 million annually on employment programs through labour market development agreements and the Canada Jobs Grant, which focusses on short term training.
“It isn’t just up to governments,” Bond said. “We need to make sure that employers step up to the plate… It’s about lining up our training dollars, working across levels of government and making sure that people can get a job when they need one.”
So far 1,400 employers in B.C. are approved for funding to train about 7,360 workers.
“It really is about aligning the skills and training to provide those opportunities to the individuals here and VMAC is a strong representative in our community who is taking the lead in and showing how well it can come together when we form these partnerships between the province and business,” Stilwell said.
VMAC will receive $34,000 through the Canada Jobs Grant, which Jim Hogan, president of VMAC, said would be used to provide 23 of the company’s 132 employees advanced skills training. Under the grant, employers must contribute a minimum one third of total training costs.
Hogan said the VMAC anticipates growth plan and will need more employees.
“Our hiring is driven by our success in the marketplace,” Hogan said. “We do see growth in our immediate future and when we do take in people then there are obvious training requirements and that is where this type of assistance will come in wonderfully handy.”