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BC Access Grant, online seat finder helps trades students get ahead

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VICTORIA, Sept. 25, 2014 – As part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, students with financial need may now receive up to $16,400 in non-repayable grants for studying in-demand trades at eligible public post-secondary institutions.

The BC Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities has been expanded to provide students with funds for relocation and tools, as well as funds to reduce provincial student loans and supplement StudentAid BC funding to help them cover the full cost of their education.

To further support students, they can use an online trades seat finder and instantly see where trades training spaces are available. Currently, there is high demand for some courses, particularly for trades foundation courses, that has caused wait lists at various institutions – particularly in the Lower Mainland – while there are no wait lists for courses elsewhere in the province.

Along with expansion of the BC Access Grant and the trade seat finder, the Government of B.C. has committed $6.8 million to fund 1,424 new seats at 14 public post-secondary institutions to significantly reduce wait times for trades training.

The Government of B.C. is making it easier, faster and more affordable for students to access training that will lead to jobs in the Liquefied Natural Gas sector and other in-demand industries now and in the future. B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint lays out a comprehensive action plan to re-engineer education and training so British Columbia students and workers have the skills to be first in line for jobs in a growing economy.


Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk

“We’re delivering on B.C.’s Blueprint to make sure British Columbians have the right training to take advantage of the growing economy. The BC Access Grant and online trades seat finder will encourage students to make choices that could set them on the right path for their future.”

Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Minister and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond

“The BC Access Grant and online trades seat finder is another example of our Blueprint in action. Together, these tools are providing the necessary resources to increase trades training opportunities and get more students into classrooms faster.”

Trades Training BC chair and BCIT president Kathy Kinloch

“Trades Training BC is encouraged with the positive steps being taken by the provincial government in support of BC students seeking training for in-demand trades across the province. This support will increase student access to the public trades training system by making high-demand programs available in all regions of the province and within financial reach of students.”

Acting president Dr. Loren Lovegreen, Northern Lights College

“With the announcement of the BC Access Grant, online seat finder, the government has demonstrated once again its understanding of the importance of creating funding and tools that will increase access for students seeking the high demand trades training vital to the continued growth of B.C.’s economy – and as a northern training institute we are pleased that the BC Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities has expanded allowing us to further enhance our commitment of training skilled workers to help meet the needs of our industry partners working in the heart of the province’s natural resource sector.”

ITA CEO Gary Herman

“Fulfilling the demand for the skilled trades is a priority for ITA. Providing easier access and increased funding places us on the right track to ensure British Columbians have the skills to be first in line for the many opportunities coming our way.”


B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint includes a commitment to realign provincial student financial aid to support labour market needs and priorities. The BC Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities has been expanded to support this commitment and has four components – relocation, tools, loan and unmet need.

Students are eligible for the BC Access Grant if they:

Qualify for StudentAid BC funding

Attend full-time studies in foundation or pre-apprentice programs (listed below)

Enrol at an eligible B.C. public post-secondary institution – includes Northern Lights College

– Eligible programs taught at NLC are:

Power Engineering, Heavy Duty Mechanics, Millwright, Oil and Gas Field Operations, Welding, Carpentry, and Industrial Electrician.

– Students will need to apply separately for the relocation grant through StudentAid BC and must demonstrate they have moved at least 100 kilometres to attend their training.

– Tools component: Students who meet the criteria for the BC Access Grant and attend NLC can receive $500 to purchase tools.

– Loan component: Students studying in-demand trades at one of 15 eligible public institutions may receive a grant to reduce their provincial student loan. Students will receive a maximum of $2,000 or a maximum of $5,400 if they have dependents.

– Unmet Need component: The unmet need component will reduce or eliminate the difference between the maximum StudentAid BC funding the student is eligible for and the actual cost of education and living expenses. Eligible students studying in-demand trades at one of 15 eligible institutions could receive a grant of up to $6,500.

Students don’t have to apply separately for the tools, loan and unmet need components. They will be automatically assessed for the grants when they submit their StudentAid BC application.