Accessible skills training for students with disabilities

KELOWNA – Students with disabilities who face barriers to education and training in B.C. will continue to benefit from funding for accessible training and resources to help them gain skills and education for in-demand jobs.

 Okanagan College will receive $75,000 to support its Gateway to Trades and Pilot Mentorship programs.

 The Gateway program is designed for at-risk (multiple barrier) students interested in pursuing the trades as a career. It will target school district #23 students at Central School and will start in the early fall of 2016.

 The Pilot Mentorship program will mentor students with a disability who wish to enter the Administration or Culinary Arts departments. The program will have limited spots for students in the communities of Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm and will start in the early fall of 2016.

 More than $1.9 million will support ongoing training and resources for students with disabilities at 20 public post-secondary institutions. Each institution will receive one-time funding of $75,000 in 2016-17.

 This year’s funding builds on investments made in 2014-15 and 2015-16 for a total of more than $4 million to assist students with disabilities to overcome barriers to education and training.

 Government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint in 2014 to align funding and programs with in-demand occupations. The Blueprint includes goals to provide better access to technical and trades-related training for learners with disabilities.

 The funding also supports Accessibility 2024, government’s 10-year action plan that includes goals, actions and long-term measures to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities.

Labour market forecasts show that B.C. anticipates almost one million job openings by 2024. Approximately 78% will require post-secondary training: 42% will require college education or apprenticeship training and 36% will require university and/or significant work experience.

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson 

“Providing access to post-secondary education for our young people ensures our community continues to thrive. We want our students to succeed and these programs will help give them the tools they need do that.”