Specialized Population Groups
Certain population groups in B.C. are underrepresented in the labour market and many are growing fast. These groups include Aboriginal Peoples, immigrants, mature workers, people with disabilities, women in trades and youth. If you belong to one of these groups, the profiles below may assist you in your workplace efforts.
Persons of aboriginal descent represent the youngest and fastest-growing segment of Canada’s population; they are currently underused in B.C.'s labour market. Visit Aboriginal Peoples of British Columbia for labour characteristics, profiles and articles on aboriginal persons.
Here are a few key facts:
- The aboriginal working-age population is expected to grow by more than 40 per cent by 2017 – almost double the rate of the overall population that is of working age.
- Aboriginal workers have an important role to play in B.C.’s economy, helping to address expected labour shortages.
- As the birth rate in B.C. continues to drop, shortages of skills and labour will create job opportunities for aboriginal persons.
A good education makes anyone more employable. If you are an aboriginal person who would like to qualify for post-secondary education and training, the Ministry of Advanced Education offers student and program resources which can help you:
- discover programs and services for aboriginal learners.
- research future job opportunities in B.C.
- learn how you can get help to pay for your schooling.
An option for gaining work experience is through the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program, which provides:
- professional experience
- leadership development
- cultural support
Financial assistance to aboriginal students enrolled in post-secondary education is available through a First Citizen's bursary program.
Aboriginal students in need may also receive help from an aboriginal scholarship fund.
Aboriginal Best is a 12-week program that teaches business skills and provides resources for starting a business.
Aboriginal Tourism Training & Education programs provide the training, tools and resources needed for success.
Aboriginal Mining offers information about mining careers, as well as training and education programs for different roles in the industry.
British Columbia's growth and prosperity are founded on a long tradition of immigration; about 40,000 new immigrants enter the province each year. The province's dynamic multicultural communities celebrate diversity and create opportunities for everyone.
- Immigrant workers play an important role in strengthening B.C.'s economy.
- Workers educated elsewhere provide much-needed expertise and often help to fill critical shortages in the labour market.
- Skilled workers with training, work experience and knowledge of English are in high demand.
If you have immigrated to B.C., Welcome BC offers information and resources to help you adapt to work and life in B.C. which include:
- programs that can help you move to B.C.
- working and studying in B.C.
- learning English
- starting a business
- applying for government services
- immigration facts and trends
- the cultural makeup of different communities in B.C.
- getting recognition for previous education and training
- how to understand B.C.'s labour market and economy
- help enabling skilled immigrants to connect with jobs
- trades training for immigrants
Many trades are in need of more trained workers, so there are many opportunities for immigrants interested in building a career in the trades and finding well-paid work. The Industry Training Authority (ITA) offers a range of programs and initiatives designed to help immigrants on their path to success.
The Skills Connect for Immigrants Program can help you secure jobs that fully use your skills, knowledge and experience.
For more on literacy and skills development, see the WorkBC Essential Skills page
The Vancouver Public Library sponsors a Skilled Immigrants InfoCentre. Their website features Guides to Occupations that offer useful information on 71 different jobs in B.C.
Learn about the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program for trained professionals and skilled workers. It can accelerate immigration for qualified employer-sponsored candidates.
More baby boomers may remain in the workforce after 2011 than experts were predicting before the bank failures of 2008. Some mature workers must put off retirement for years, to offset losses or cuts in pensions or savings. However, many will retire, opening up opportunities for you as a mature worker, although this could possibly be in a different job.
Changing careers in mid-life or later has its challenges; you may have to relocate, train in a new field or seek volunteer roles that will add work experience to your resumé. However, advice and information is within reach if you aim to:
- re-enter the workforce after losing your job or taking a time out
- find help upgrading your skills
- gain experience in a new occupation
The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) program is for communities affected by significant industry downsizing or closures. Priority is given to workers who have been displaced but are not receiving employment insurance benefits. This federal/provincial program provides:
- resume writing
- interview techniques
- job finding clubs
Other services may include:
- training allowances
- preparation for self-employment
- marketing to employers
- work experience placements
- post-project follow-up
TIOW projects are available in communities across the province.
Persons with Disabilities
Working-age people with disabilities could increase B.C.’s future labour supply. If you are one of the 350,000-plus individuals with a disability who live here, and if you qualify to train for a career that excites you, now could be the time to open that door. Find out about access to post-secondary education. If you have a disability, StudentAid BC will help you connect with education and career-related resources to help make your transition to post-secondary education a little easier. Some of the available resources include:
- funding assistance for disabled students at a designated post-secondary institution
- resources that make learning and working environments usable for people with disabilities
- information services for students with print or hearing disabilities
If you are living with a mental illness, the Canadian Mental Health Association assists you with education and career-related support as you:
- find the right educational program to suit your needs
- seek services for students with a disability
- advocate for yourself
- fund your education
- seek a support network
Assistive Technology BC (ATBC) provides tools and resources to make learning and working environments usable for people with disabilities throughout British Columbia.
The Open Door Group offers a wide array of employment resources and workshops available at no cost to eligible participants looking for employment success.
Women in Non-Traditional Occupations
With a high demand in B.C. for skilled tradespeople, this is an excellent time for women to consider a career in the trades. Tradeswomen of all ages are discovering that trades work offers job satisfaction, independence and good pay.
Today, trades students and tradeswomen have access to various means of support. The Industry Training Authority (ITA) Women in Trades Training initiative is helping women find rewarding careers in the trades through a number of different programs and initiatives.
- The ITA Women in Trades Training initiative helps unemployed or underemployed women get the support they need to become skilled, in-demand tradespeople.
- The ITA initiative can connect women to trades training programs across B.C.
- The initiative also helps women find funded training and paid apprenticeship opportunities.
Some B.C. public post-secondary institutions have developed programs structured specifically for women who want to learn a trade. Enrolment in trades training programs for women is higher than ever.
A career in the trades is an increasingly practical option for women. The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Trades Discovery for Women prepares students to successfully enter and complete trades/technical training or seek apprenticeship. Students explore a variety of programs in the following sectors:
As the province’s baby boomers continue to retire over this decade, youth can expect to play a critical role in the future success of B.C.’s economy. The British Columbian standard of living will increasingly rely on your educational and career successes as a young person.
You need to learn how to get the fastest results to effectively plan and balance your job search efforts. Explore Career Profiles for all the facts about more than 500 occupations. You can also use the interactive Career Pathfinder to see which courses are needed for your chosen career and what jobs your education can lead to.
Check out the Job Trend Tracker tool to find out about salaries in occupations and what kind of job opportunities will exist in the years to come. Watch the videos for a quick tour of how it works.
BC Stats Labour Market Outcomes for Young British Columbians provides an overall snapshot of young workers based on census data.
Young workers have the right to a safe workplace. It's important to know what that means. Since young workers face a higher risk of injury, WorkSafeBC has numerous resources dedicated to injury prevention that could save your life or keep you from being seriously hurt.
The government's economic planning takes all this information into account and targets the above groups for special action around training opportunities and supported hiring. The purpose is to hopefully provide a better match between the supply of potential workers in the target groups and the numbers who are employed. This improvement should also help to offset some of the workforce losses that will occur as the average age of British Columbians climbs.
WorkBC Employment Services Centres are located across the province and offer client-centred, integrated services and supports that are responsive, inclusive and accessible. The purpose of these centres is to support British Columbians in getting a job as quickly as possible and to help them keep it. Programs and services include skills development, targeted wage subsidies, self employment, job creation partnerships and employment assistance services.