Toward a British Columbia Workforce Literacy and Essential Skills Strategy

Over 150,000 British Columbians aged 25 to 54 have not graduated from high school and 600,000 adults do not have the literacy and essential skills they need to achieve their goals, to function and to thrive in the modern economy, and to develop their knowledge and potential.

The B.C. Government has predicted that there will be almost 1.3 million new job openings by 2020; and yet, we will only have about 650,000 young people graduate in BC by then. Combined with other demographic trends and economic growth, there will soon be more jobs than qualified workers. This is happening already in certain sectors and occupations. In addition to recruiting workers from outside B.C., we must make better use of existing labour force participants including those unemployed and wanting to work.

Whether it is enabling unemployed people and/or the employed with low levels of education to take advantage of economic opportunity in Burns Lake, Fort Nelson, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Tumbler Ridge or Vancouver; or whether it is helping the Aboriginal population become employed in economic development – literacy and essential skills are often the first step required to gain, sustain or enhance employment.

Despite the absolute necessity of such skill development, there has not been a provincial literacy and essential skills strategy in B.C. for several years. As a result of the B.C. Jobs Plan, the Government of B.C. recently launched a comprehensive Skills and Training Plan, with a focus on trades and technical training and skills. Since literacy and essential skills are an important foundation for employment and further training, Decoda is working on a project to develop a long-term, sustainable British Columbia Workforce Literacy & Essential Skills Strategy which will contribute to the achievement of the Skills and Training Plan’s objectives.

To learn more about the British Columbia Workforce Literacy & Essential Skills Strategy project or how Decoda can help you make a strategic business investment in literacy, browse this section, or contact us.