University presidents warn of impending job skills deficit

Council calling on B.C. government to better fund post-secondary education

Tyler Smith

A shift in supply and demand expected to hit B.C. in 2016 means employers are expected to have a difficult time finding well-educated people to fill positions.

This ominous jobs deficit forecast, put out by the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia this week, comes with a call to action from the presidents of six B.C. universities asking for better funding from the provincial government. They say that’s the only way a deficit will be avoided.

“It’s simple: we’re not educating enough people,” said Allan Cahoon, president of Royal Roads University.

“B.C. has historically made up for that deficit with in-migration from other provinces, but that’s in decline. We’re also going to see an increase in the number of people retiring, and there’s a shortage of talent coming out of our universities.”

In 2016, 5,900 jobs will go unfilled in B.C. due to a skills deficit, they say. By 2020, that number is expected to balloon to 18,800.

David Turpin, president of the University of Victoria, says the deficit will come in a variety of jobs spanning many sectors.

“It’s going to be all across the board. Some of the big ones are areas such as supervisors, nurse supervisors, registered nurses, teachers, auditors, managers in retail, all types of engineers,” he said.

The RUCBC is calling on the government to take three steps immediately to reverse the forecasted skills gap: secure space for 11,000 new students in universities, colleges and trades schools over the next four years; improve financial assistance programs (grants, scholarships loans); and commit to improve B.C.’s research and innovation potential.

“Moving up into election environment, it’s absolutely critical that this province be able to educate the young people so that they can succeed in the new economy,” Turpin said.

Advanced Education Minister John Yap did not return phone calls.

 

Just Posted

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in Victoria

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

A breakdown of Oak Bay candidates’ campaign spending

A look at expenses, contributions during the 2018 municipal election

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Most Read