PARKSVILLE – New Democrat MLAs Sheila Malcolmson Adam Walker say at-risk youth on the mid-Island will be able to gain skills in in-demand fields thanks to BladeRunners, an employment and skills training program that provides wrap-around supports for young people.
“The training and support provided through the BladeRunners program makes an incredible difference for young people in our community at the start of their careers,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “For youth facing unique barriers, employment stability is important part for their long-term success and I am thankful this program will continue here in Parksville.”
Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) has received $10,523,551 in funding over three years to offer this program to youth in various communities across B.C. who face barriers to employment. In Parksville, ACCESS will deliver the BladeRunners program through Central Vancouver Island Job Opportunities Building Society. In Nanaimo, the program will be delivered by the Nanaimo Youth Services Society.
“I have been inspired by young people who have gone through the BladeRunners program at Nanaimo Youth Services Association and by seeing how the program has positively shaped countless lives,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “The work NYSA does to support youth in Nanaimo is appreciated by our entire community and I am encouraged to know this funding will support their work to help young adults build healthy lives.”
The BladeRunners program empowers youth aged 15-30 to take control of their futures, gain valuable skills, and find new career opportunities in areas such as construction, culinary arts, health care, retail, hospitality, and office administration. In addition to job skills and work experience placements, youth build life skills and receive mentorship and other supports to help them participate and succeed in the program.
The New Democrat government is allocating $18.6M over three years to support the BladeRunners program being delivered by 11 organizations serving 50 communities across B.C. More than 4,000 young people will benefit from this funding, 65-70% of whom are expected to be Indigenous. The BladeRunners program began as a pilot project in 1994 to address the needs of at-risk youth on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
BladeRunners programs are available now in communities across all regions of the province. If you are a youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who is facing multiple barriers to employment, see the BladeRunners website: https://www.workbc.ca/employment-services/labour-market-programs/bladerunners-program.aspx