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Aquaculture Training Means Jobs for the Island

CANADA - Sixty people on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, are beginning a 25-week training programme to learn the skills necessary to work asaquaculture technicians in the aquaculture industry.

The government is supporting a new Labour Market Sector Solutions project with the BC Salmon Farmers Association, which is designed to help participant's secure permanent employment in the aquaculture industry while helping local employers meet labour demands.

The aquaculture technician diploma programme is being offered by Excel Career College in three areas of Vancouver Island: Port Alberni, Port Hardy and Campbell River. Aquaculture employers in these areas are in demand for skilled workers, but potential employees have had little access to relevant skills training, as the programme is currently offered only in Courtenay.

This intensive programme creates additional opportunities for these communities to offer training to local participants, while meeting local demand. As part of the program, participants will be placed with local aquaculture employers for a two-week practicum and will be assisted with longer-term job search activities.

The aquaculture technician diploma program is supported by $458,200 in funding through the Canada - British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.

Don McRae, Minister of Agriculture said: "Aquaculture is a half-billion dollar industry in British Columbia, providing jobs and economic opportunities for families and communities up and down the Coast. Providing training for the next generation of workers is part of our Agri-food strategy, to increase BC's overall agri-food revenues to $14 billion annually by 2017."

Mary Ellen Walling, executive director, BC Salmon Farmers Association said: "This project is very helpful to our members and similar businesses, as it enables the development of skill-specific training and creates a pool of skilled people interested in working in the industry. It's of particular benefit to people in the smaller geographic regions where we operate. As we anticipate continued growth in the sector, we expect a continued demand for skilled employees."

Charlotte Johnson

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