Tuition Free* Land-based aquaculture systems 1 Time only Pilot Project for Powell River

POWELL RIVER – Fifteen local people will be trained in land-based aquaculture systems, fulfilling the need for workers in this industry, thanks to more than $362,000 in government Community and Employer Partnership funding to Excel Career College.

The trainees will get work experience, learning to be Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS) facilities technicians, farming salmon and trout. These technicians work on inland fish farms and hatcheries and help with the operation of the aquaculture system, including feeding and caring for the stocks, water sampling and testing. They also maintain the pump and filtration systems that keep the fish healthy.

During the 36-week project, which has just begun, participants will get 24 weeks of classroom training learning First Aid, computer programs, forklift operation and hatchery operations. There will also be two weeks of on-the-job work experience with industry employers and a minimum of four weeks of follow-up support to help them find work in the aquaculture industry. The project is slated to wrap up in January 2016 when the trainees will have earned a diploma in Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS).

The local WorkBC Employment Services Centre is recruiting eligible participants for the project and the trainees will be receiving Project-Based Labour Market Training. This training helps groups of people with on- or off-the-job employment training and is a component of Community and Employer Partnerships, which were introduced in April 2012 as part of the Employment Program of BC.

To date, more than 700 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 150 projects have been funded throughout the province.

By 2022, B.C. is expecting one million job openings with more than two-thirds driven by retirements in an aging population. One year ago, government created the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint to ensure more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand jobs in B.C.’s diverse, strong and growing economy.

The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.


Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –

“Aquaculture is an important part of B.C.’s diverse and growing economy. The individuals who participate in this training project will receive the skills and certification needed to join this expanding industry, secure a good job and a better future. This is good news all around for Powell River, the trainees and the industry.”

Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture –

“It’s terrific that we’re going to have 15 well-trained workers who will be ready to work when they finish their Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS) training. This will definitely benefit B.C.’s environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry.”

Pauline Stevenson, president, Excel Career College –

“This project provides hands-on, practical training for people seeking employment in the exciting industry of Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). The project supports not only the participants, but also the community of Powell River, as it broadens its economic base through this burgeoning industry. It provides program participants with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence needed for employment. This is training to meet excellent employment prospects in an industry of projected long-term growth.”

Quick Facts:

  • Aquaculture is the farming of finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants in both freshwater and saltwater environments.
  • In 2013, the B.C. aquaculture sector produced 90,400 tonnes of fish and shellfish and generated $510.3 million in farmgate value.
  • British Columbia is the fourth largest producer of cultured salmon in the world after Norway, Chile, and the United Kingdom.
  • In 2015-16, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
  • The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
  • Funding supports84WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
    • Job Creation Partnerships
    • Labour Market Partnerships
    • Project-Based Labour Market Training
    • Research and Innovation

Who is eligible?

  • Businesses
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
  • Bands/tribal councils
  • Public health and educational institutions

Learn More:

For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships:

For more information on Excel Career College:

Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre:

Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation:

For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan:

Media Contacts:

Grant Kerr
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
250 387-5635

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