Employee training grants available this fall

Grants to help with employee training open soon. File Photo.

Businesses wanting to provide employees with additional training can apply for the B.C. Employer Training Grant (ETG) starting Oct. 1.

The grant program is designed to help unemployed and employed B.C. citizens access skill training to adapt as well as encourage employer investment in employee training.

A maximum of $10,000 is available per employee per fiscal year, which resets April 1.

For businesses wanting help with the application process close to home, Kamloops’ Grandesco College can help with applications for training programs they offer.

Natrisha Sagris, Grandesco’s registrar, said they have helped employers receive up to $65,000 for training.

“I’d actually recommend to all employers to have a look through the options,” Sagris said. “Training is a really hard thing to justify but everyone knows it has a huge return on investment.”

Sagris said while the ETG was previously based on categories and certain underrepresented populations were prioritized, it’s now more of a first-come, first-served basis. She also recommended applying for the number of people you need, even if you need to switch them out afterwards.

“If you want to do training and apply for 20 people, apply for 20 spots and if you need to after you can change names but you can’t add people.”

Funds can be used in three broad categories. Foundational training, for unemployed, underemployed or low skilled residents to learn essential skills to improve their chances of success in the workforce. Technical training is for new or current employees to learn technical skills in response to automation and technological advancements, and workforce training can be used to upgrade skills to develop the workforce.

Sagris said it can seem intimidating but there are no tricks or hoops to jump through to access funding. And if you’re denied? You can re-apply in the next period.

“Training is one of the most important things a company can do,” she said. “And it’s largely overlooked because of the cost.”