Blueprint a race to the bottom?

The BC Liberals only have part of the answer. Yes, schools should prepare students for work - but they will need green living-wage jobs.

On Tuesday the BC Liberal government announced the launch of their Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer education and training.

The news release they issued said the celebration around the announcement brought together students, educators and employers to profile skilled trades that will soon be in high demand.

The idea is to target more resources to meet labour market priorities.

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint lays out a major shift to a data-driven system where training dollars and programs are targeted to jobs in demand.

The question is: shouldn’t they have been doing this all along?

According to the government the blueprint is anchored by a strong emphasis on labour needs throughout the province, including those of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

A lot of the talk from Victoria keeps circling around LNG—an industry that by and large doesn’t even exist yet in B.C. And if they are talking about fracking for that gas we need to ask why we should buy into a resource industry that has never been proven to be environmentally benign.

Instead senior levels of government have been promoting programs such as the temporary foreign worker shmozzle.

That program seems to indicate that the current education system either isn’t capable of training our young people to even flip burgers—or maybe it’s just that the current education system has failed to train young graduates to be happy competing for jobs paying third world wages.

It makes one wonder what happened to the concept of paying a living wage—one that doesn’t impoverish people. It may well be a blueprint for the race to the bottom —in living standards and environmental standards.


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