Alarm bells are ringing loudly all across our province about a looming shortfall of about 40,000 skilled workers.
More than 80 per cent of new jobs created over the next 10 years will require some form of post-secondary education or trades training. Employers, educators, economists and labour are all calling for action to address the impending crisis.
A group of B.C. university presidents has called for the creation of 11,000 new spaces over four years (at a cost of about $130 mil-lion) and expansion of student financial aid, including grants and loan reductions.
Langley students know the barriers and challenges to completing their studies. Chronic underfunding problems in universities and trades training facilities have led to reductions in course and class options. As well, students are faced with oppressive tuition fees and mounting student loan debts. These barriers delay the preparation of a trained workforce that is essential to our economy.
It's apparent the provincial government has floundered over the past 10 years with no comprehensive long-term plan for postsecondary education and trades training.
This provincial government should give the university presidents' recommendations serious consideration. Because if they don't, the next government will.
Shane Dyson, Aldergrove