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BURNABY, B.C. Young workers, trying to get a decent start in working life, face a dim future as the Liberals begin to dismantle the province’s apprenticeship and training programs, says CUPE BC.

“While the Liberal cabinet scrambles to control the damage caused by Premier Gordon Campbell, young people are facing a fate far worse,” CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said.

On Dec. 18, 2002, a government-appointed committee put out a discussion paper, which will form the basis for radical changes to all trades training delivered at colleges in B.C.

“The paper is a dream come true for the B.C. Business Council,” he added. “It excludes partner groups and unions from developing apprenticeship and training programs. And it takes away the value we have attached to our qualified trades people.”

An appointed board of business people will now run apprenticeship training. Government will be out of the business of education and training of workers in these programs. The $70 million budget of the former industrial training advisory committee (ITAC) will be handed over to employers to administer. This government is handing private interests the administration of public education.

“Not all of our kids will be doctors or lawyers, ” O’Neill said. “We need qualified, well-trained people to work as trades people. “

“Just as he chose to roll the dice last week with his own life, Premier Campbell is about to roll them on the lives of thousands of young workers,” he said.

“Hold the dice, Mr. Premier. Do not make another mistake. Let our young carpenters, plumbers, millwrights, electricians, heavy-duty mechanics and other trades people have a future.”


Editors: The first of several local hearings takes place Jan. 14 at Malaspina College, building 180, lecture hall 134 in Nanaimo.

Contact: Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, 604-291-1940.