Opening doors to employment for young adults

Young adults in Surrey are getting the skills training and employment supports to prepare them for careers as tradespeople and safety technicians in B.C.'s booming construction sector.

SURREY – Young adults in Surrey are getting the skills training and employment supports to prepare them for careers as tradespeople and safety technicians in B.C.’s booming construction sector.
Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) will receive $1.7 million annually over the next two years to deliver skills training programs and supports to young adults and young adults at risk, including former youth in care.

“Breaking down barriers to good-paying jobs benefits the next generation and builds off of our government’s commitment to open doors for young people, including former youth in care,”said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Skills training and employment supports, like those being delivered in Surrey, are empowering young people to get the skills employers need, while encouraging them to take charge of their future.”

The two programs at PICS are among 39 programs in B.C. that started on April 1, 2019. These programs are providing training and employment support programs for people aged between 18 and 24 years, regardless of their employment insurance availability. The types of programs vary by service provider, but typically include skills training, mentorship and other supports to help participants overcome employment barriers. These barriers could include lack of work experience or occupational skills, as well as involvement in the criminal justice system, incomplete high school education or history of addiction and substance abuse.

PICS is delivering a 20-week Youth Technical Employment and Business Pathways program that allows young adults to explore three different technical occupations: fire protection inspection, construction safety inspection and underground utility location.

A second PICS program is the 30-week Trade Builders for young adults at risk. It provides construction trades skills training, as well as additional supports, including employment support for learners.

“This program has guided me through the career path that I was hoping for. I am truly grateful to everybody who has helped me open my eyes to the path of success,” said Edwin Uy, PICS student.

Kathleen Chitombo, another PICS student, said, “I am glad that I am a part of this program. Within the span of two weeks I have learned various things about the workforce and who I am. I look forward to learning more.”

The Province is providing a total of $15 million per year over the next two years to support skills training and employment support programs for young adult programs including: $9 million annually to programs supporting young adults, and $6 million annually for programs supporting young adults at risk.

A total of about 2,500 young adults annually are expected to access skills training and wraparound supports leading to jobs or further education and training.


Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers –

“Young people can often find barriers to building a strong future, so it?s important we support
their success. Investing in young adults in Surrey will open doors and create pathways to good
jobs that are in high demand.”

Satbir Singh Cheema, CEO, PICS –

“Young adults in our community face many barriers whenever it comes to employment. Our
team of instructors work with program participants to prepare them for good jobs in industries
such as the building trades and technical occupations.”

David Holt, facilitator and job developer, PICS –

“The goal is to give program participants the skills that employers need.”

Quick Facts:

The Province of B.C. and the Government of Canada signed the Workforce Development
Agreement in 2018 to deliver programs that give people the skills and retraining that
employers look for, with a specific focus on under-represented and vulnerable groups.
Under the agreement, the Province will invest $685 million over six years in programs,
such as the Skills Training for Employment Program, to help people who face barriers to
participation in the labour market.
Programs delivered through the Skills Training for Employment Program focus on
meeting the needs of vulnerable and under-represented groups, regardless of their
eligibility for employment insurance, by assisting people facing barriers to participate in
the labour market. Participants receive pre-employment, skills training and employment
supports to obtain sustainable employment.
The 2018 edition of the B.C. Labour Market Outlook forecasts 903,000 job openings in
the next decade until 2028 due to a mixture of retirements and economic growth; 77% of
job openings will require some level of post-secondary education or training.

Learn More:
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WorkBC – Jobs, education and career information: