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REPORTING · 1st May 2014
Walter McFarlane
LNG Canada brought in Premier Christy Clark for the signing of a Joint Venture Agreement on Wednesday, April 30th. Clark, who is leaving on her 5th international trade mission in two days, focused on the changes to the Post-Secondary school system.

She said the province is making moves in skills training, re-engineering the Post-Secondary systems to serve the people of BC better and create a seamless path from school to employment. In addition, the government is engaging First Nations and communities so they will be ready for the benefits and workers respectively. The government is working to create a competitive environment.

ďThis started with our tax framework. We followed that up with our ten years skills training plan which we announced yesterday, so the skilled workers will be there to be able to fill the jobs, but more importantly, so that people will be able to begin their lives. Imagine, young people getting through high school and being able to go straight to work if thatís what they choose to do, being able to get a job, start their family, buy a home, start getting promoted right away. For many young people, thatís a dream that they havenít been able to realize, and we intend to change our skills training system so that more of them can,Ē said Clark.

Clark expressed she is working with LNG to make sure BC remains competitive and she wants British Columbians to be first in line for the coming jobs.

During the question period, Clark was asked where she expects to get the money to train the students from. She stated they need to meet the needs of the students in a system where 20% of the students do not graduate and 50% of First Nations youth do not graduate.

ďIf we have the courage to confront why that is, I would argue itís because we donít offer the range of programs, particularly in skills training to be able to keep those kids in the system, so I would say to those who argue Ďitís just about spending more moneyí, I would say, we arenít spending all of the money as well as we can that is in the system. Letís re-allocate that within the system. Focus it on programs which are going to meet kidís needs. Ensure that more of them stay in the system and give them those opportunities,Ē said Clark.

She similarly wanted to smooth out the post-secondary education system so young people can get a skill in trades without having to go through other post-secondary education programs first. She wanted students to begin training in the trades as early as grade 10 so they are able to get out and work full time and climb the ladder by the time they are 18. She stated degrees in English and philosophy are still important, but there were other skills which people needed to have.

Clark told the media schools were places to learn, places to prepare young people for the world. They need to recognize that schools needed more programs to fit the unique needs of the students as the world changes around them.