ITA E-PPRENTICE Strategy Will Reduce Barriers to Completion of Apprenticeship Training, Expand Access

    RICHMOND, BC, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - BC's Industry Training Authority today
announced a $6 million investment into its new E-PPRENTICE initiative, which
will create more flexible options for delivering the technical training
component of apprenticeship for skilled trades occupations.
    The funding will be used to develop innovative, blended models - often
including an e-learning component - for eight high-volume trades, beginning
with the millwright, welding, cooking and auto collision repair programs in
the coming year.
    "This new service provides British Columbians seeking to become certified
in the trades with a great new opportunity," said Minister of Advanced
Education and Labour Market Development, Murray Coell. "Through our Canada/BC
Labour Market Agreement funding we're building made in B.C. solutions to
respond to our current and future economic challenges."
    "This new project will go a long way to help British Columbians get the
skills they need to fully participate in the workforce," said the Honourable
Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "Through our
Labour Market Agreement with BC, and initiatives like E-PPRENTICE, we are
helping employers find skilled workers and delivering on our commitment to
help everyone get access to the specialized training necessary to find and
keep jobs in BC."
    In announcing the initiative, which is the outcome of best practices
research and a business strategy developed for the ITA by a steering group led
by Vancouver Community College and comprising representatives of BC colleges
and industry, CEO Kevin Evans acknowledged that traditional models of training
are not effective for everyone.
    "We know that being released from work for 4-10 weeks each year to attend
training in a college setting can present hardships for some apprentices and
their employers," said Evans. "We hope that flexible alternatives like online
or other distributed learning, done at the apprentices' chosen time and pace,
will help remove some of the barriers to apprenticeship completion, while at
the same time attracting new entrants to the trades who are attracted to the
real-time, high-tech education offering."
    Evans added that the ITA continues to support and fund the traditional
block release model of technical training, for those who prefer it.
    The ITA has contracted BCcampus to manage the E-PPRENTICE initiative.
Executive Director David Porter says that his agency's first step will be to
issue a request for proposals later this week. BCcampus will be seeking
partnerships between public and private post-secondary institutions, secondary
school districts and new media companies to lead the development and
province-wide delivery of the E-PPRENTICE programs.
    Funding for E-PPRENTICE has been provided through the federal/provincial
Labour Market Agreement (LMA). Under the LMA, each year for the next six
years, the Government of Canada will provide approximately $66 million in
funding to the Province for labour market programs. For more information on
the LMA, visit

    Established as a crown corporation in 2004 to oversee and expand B.C.'s
industry training and apprenticeship system, the ITA works with industry and
employers, trainees and apprentices, labour unions and training providers to
meet industry's current and future training needs. See for more

    BCcampus provides services and leadership to support the online learning
goals of BC's public post-secondary institutions by identifying, acquiring,
developing, and implementing technologies and services that enhance online
learning opportunities. For more information, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Dooling, ITA Executive Lead,
Communications & Marketing, (604) 671-8710,

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