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Unemployed fed up, heading to school: group 0

By Sara Norman

People suffering chronic unemployment area heading back to school, says the Canadian Labour Congress. (FILE PHOTO)

People suffering chronic unemployment area heading back to school, says the Canadian Labour Congress. (FILE PHOTO)

Frustration with underemployment may be sending more people to the post-secondary classroom this fall, according to the Canadian Labour Congress. Senior economist Angela MacEwen says the labour market is flat even though statistics show unemployment is down. She points out employment data doesn’t take into account people who stop looking for work, or are forced to take low-paying part-time jobs and unpaid internships.

Dave Pinton with the B.C. Institute of Technology says they’ve seen an enrolment increase of 5% this year, but it may not be related to the job market. Earlier this summer, BCIT received funding for 272 extra seats in popular trades programs like welding and industrial electricians.

“Enrolment for September 2014 is slightly higher than 2013 because of trade programs that are in high demand,” says Pinton, adding all of the trades associated with liquefied natural gas have more students enrolled.

Meanwhile, a representative from Simon Fraser University says its enrolment is generally the same as last year, but final numbers won’t be calculated until the third week of September. Like BCIT, SFU also doesn’t track the reason students are enrolling.

Unemployed workers seeking additional education isn’t a bad thing for the labour force, according to MacEwen, especially in trade programs with high job prospects upon graduation. However, she says strengthening the B.C. workforce would happen a lot quicker if employers create better training programs on the job.

 

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