The Province and B.C.’s technology industry join forces to meet labour needs

Source: Province of BC

The B.C. government announced today nearly $600,000 towards a partnership with key technology industry partners to study the labour market needs in the tech sector.

Led by the BC Technology Association (BCTA) and the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), this technology Sector Labour Market Partnership project, worth nearly $600,000 to date, will help the government and project partners gain a better understanding of the current and future labour needs in this diverse and fast growing sector. As part of this project, the partners are also developing a comprehensive labour market strategy which will result in recommendations on deepening the talent pool for in-demand jobs in B.C.

Since last October, BCTA and VEC, with support from the government through the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program, have been engaging with technology employers, educational stakeholders and the broader technology community to gain a better understanding of the labour needs in this sector. To help the industry take this important project further, the Province has recently committed additional support so they can complete a detailed labour market analysis and develop a strategy with key actions to address the sector’s labour market priorities.

After the announcement, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond, and Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk, as well as project partners, met with programming students at the Lighthouse Labs Victoria campus, located in the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) offices within the Fort Tectoria building in Victoria.

The project announced today is part of the government’s commitment to deepen B.C.’s technology talent pool through a variety of actions, including improving access to timely and relevant labour market information, as outlined in the #BCTECH Strategy. The 10-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund to improve access to capital, as well as initiatives to increase talent development and market growth for tech companies to drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.

In 2014, the B.C. government launched the Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer its education and training programs so British Columbians can get the skills they need to be first in line for jobs in the province.

The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.

Quotes:

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training–

“The technology industry is an important part of our province’s economy, creating thousands of jobs and investments in B.C. To keep B.C.’s economy strong, diverse and growing, we need to ensure that technology employers have the talent they need to expand, and that British Columbians have the skills they need to work in this growing sector.”

Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services—

“Through the #BCTECH Strategy, we are committed to providing British Columbians with the tech skills they need to enter the marketplace and contribute to the growth of B.C.’s tech sector. Our strategy responds to industry’s needs: providing coding in K-12; expanding co-op programs; and adjusting the training and education in post-secondary institutions. Ensuring students and adults have the right skills means they can contribute through a variety of exciting fields such as creating a greener earth in clean tech or improving lives through life sciences.”

Ian McKay, CEO, VEC –

“Vancouver's economic growth, the fastest of any city in Canada , has been driven largely by its emergence as a global technology hub. The entrepreneurs in our city are creating businesses that attract local and global talent. The talent in our city has in turn attracted some of the most innovative companies in the world. However, the companies we speak with every day simply can't get enough of that talent to sustain their rapid growth and reach their full potential. The LMP strategy will help Vancouver and all of British Columbia overcome this challenge and reach our full potential, as a leader in today's fierce race for talent and as the global centre for technology and innovation.”

Bill Tam, president, BC Technology  Association –

“Talent is what fuels the B.C. technology industry. Building a solid foundation of human capital, whether home grown or globally sourced, is among our critical success factors. With growing concerns on the availability of talent, we’re pleased to be partnering with the province, the Vancouver Economic Commission and our industry colleagues on this Labour Market Partnership project.”

Jeremy Shaki, founder, Lighthouse Labs –

“Lighthouse Labs is committed to providing the industry specific training needed to support B.C.’s and Canada's growing tech industries. We’re proud to have graduated over 300 developers directly into B.C.’s talent pool in just over 2 years via our main Vancouver campus, as well as bring bootcamp education to the rapidly growing B.C. innovation hubs of Victoria and Kelowna. Training and fostering developer talent will continue to play a critical role in the success of our growing tech ecosystem. We're delighted to support the B.C. government’s initiative to work with industry to directly support the growth of the technology economy.”

Ryan Stratton, founder and CEO, Craftt, Lighthouse Labs mentor-approved –

“The craft beverage market is growing fast in B.C. Last year we created Craftt, a cloud native app designed for breweries to help manage their operations and logistics. We’re now working with 34 breweries across Canada and the U.S.

“I joined the VIATEC Accelerate Tectoria program in 2014 and they were instrumental in helping me launch Craftt. One of our toughest challenges has been sourcing talent. Programs like Lighthouse Labs are helping to reduce this employment gap by training junior developers with practical, real world skills.

“Like many other sectors, mentorship is a critical part of fostering talent in the technology sector. I’ve been working as a mentor for Lighthouse Labs students since they introduced the program in Victoria because it’s important to make the time and help shape future developers entering our community. It is impressive to see what these students can learn in such a short period of time.”

Quick Facts:

  • British Columbia is a tech-driven economy. The various technology subsectors are: information and communications technology, cleantech, engineering, life sciences, and digital media.
  • The technology sector directly employs more than 86,000 people, and wages for those jobs are 60% higher than B.C.’s industrial average.
  • In 2013, the technology sector added $13.9 billion to B.C.’s GDP.
  • B.C.’s 9,000 technology companies combined generated $23.3 billion in revenue in 2013.

Learn More:

#BCTECH Strategy: https://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/

Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program:www.workbc.ca/sectorlabourmarketpartnerships

BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx

B.C. 2024 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Statistics/Labour-Market.aspx