BC Government News Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training

Accessibility funding gives students the tools to succeed

VANCOUVER - Students with disabilities enrolled at public post-secondary institutions will be given supports to succeed in their studies and train for a range of in-demand careers.

Twenty post-secondary institutions will share in $1.5 million in provincial funding announced at Vancouver Community College (VCC), where a pilot program will train students on the autism spectrum for careers in baking and cooking.

"All students deserve access to the education and training they need to follow their dreams," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. "We are committed to making education and employment training accessible, and ensuring everyone can contribute to their communities and a strong B.C. economy."

The post-secondary institutions will receive one-time funding of $75,000 to develop or build upon programs that support students with cognitive, mental-health or physical disabilities. The funding allows them to train for high-demand jobs, including those in the technology and trades sectors.

"Our government wants British Columbia to be the most accessible and inclusive province in Canada," said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. "This funding is one more step to help get us there. Connecting students with disabilities to training supports that will further their education will help to remove barriers, and open new opportunities in the future."

Some of the post-secondary institutions will deliver programs that provide job-specific training in careers like trades, technology, culinary arts and horticulture. Others will build on mental-health assistance for students, or provide instructors with tools to better support all students.

"VCC students with disabilities can excel in their studies, and in their careers, as employees or entrepreneurs, with the right supports in place," said Peter Nunoda, Vancouver Community College president. "I'm very proud of the VCC students and the faculty who support them, because it shows that there are no limits to what we can do when we work together."

B.C.'s Labour Market Outlook predicts that over the next 10 years, 917,000 jobs will need to be filled, ranging from trades, technology and tourism, through to health care, management and business. Some level of post-secondary education or training will be required for about 80% of those job openings.