Following the highest tech jobs growth in North America, the Vancouver region saw a lot of layoffs in tech last year. Combined with a Pandemic-fuelled shift to hybrid work, the city is still in a state of flux.
Moving forward, though, we know that demand for tech skills remains, especially around coveted roles. There is momentum to be maintained.
The province of British Columbia in May launched the “StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan” to address a skills gap many businesses are facing and help thousands of people get the necessary skills to succeed in the changing economy.
The action plan is focused on five pillars, including making post-secondary education more affordable, accessible, and relevant to British Columbians. It aims to help people reskill and upskill to find in-demand jobs in tech and beyond so that employers facing current and future skills shortages can find the people they need.
“Work is transforming, and we have more job openings than skilled people,” stated Premier David Eby. “That’s why we are taking action to make sure people are ready to seize new opportunities and build a good life here in BC, and businesses are able find the people who drive our economy forward and deliver the services we all rely on.”
B.C.’s latest Labour Market Outlook forecasts one million job openings over the next decade, and that includes many opportunities within the tech sector.
“Our economy is growing and innovating quickly,” Eby said.
According to the Outlook, 80% of all new jobs over the net decade will require some level of post-secondary education or training. The increasing presence of up-skilling programs in Canada will therefore be important to help fill gaps.
StrongerBC’s Future Skills grant, which is the highlight of the $480-million Action Plan, makes it easier for people to select from more than 400 eligible training opportunities at post-secondary institutions throughout BC.
The Emily Carr University of Art + Design believes it is a sterling example of an opportunity presented by the skills grant. The grant covers ECU’s micro-credential programs offered through Continuing Studies, which are short-term courses specifically designed to equip students with the essential skills required in tech, construction, and clean energy.
ECU posits that its offerings are an excellent fit for the country’s expanding and high-paying tech sector. Technical- and leadership-oriented courses are designed to equip students with a skillset necessary for making a mark in industries like animation, VFX, and game design, the university claims.
Over the next three years, the Government of British Columbia plans to invest $39 million in funding through the StrongerBC future skills grant. The aim is to support over 8,500 people in gaining access to training for high-paying jobs. Within BC, ECU sets itself apart as one of the few regional schools offering creative tech and digital design micro-credentials covered by the new provincial funding program.
At the intersection of artistic and technical training, ECU is an anchor of Vancouver’s education system and a generator of creative energy for the region. It’s one way to take advantage of BC’s Future Skills grant, and a testament to the rising popularity and practicality of up-skilling in Canada.
Vancouver’s tech scene currently employs more than 90,000 people, a figure which has roughly tripled since 2010.