Over the weekend, the Government of BC announced its support of a new an online training and work experience program for the hospitality industry, which will be delivered by Okanagan College.

“This specialized training and practical experience will ensure that museums, resorts, restaurants and hotels in the Thompson Okanagan will have employees who are well prepared and ready to go to work in the hospitality industry,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

The Hospitality Professional Program Project-Based Labour Market Training (PBLMT)—which is supported with more than $600,000 in funding from the provincial government—will include two intakes over the 46-week project, providing up to 40 British Columbians with the opportunity to learn about the hospitality industry and gain valuable experience to prepare them for a successful career.

“Tourism is incredibly vital to our region, and so we’re proud to be able to offer these timely training opportunities to help keep this sector strong, vibrant and resilient,” said Jane Lister, Okanagan College’s regional dean for the North Okanagan and acting director of continuing studies and corporate training. “We’re grateful to the ministry for its support of the project. We’re also appreciative of all the tourism industry leaders across the sector who provided feedback on just how needed this kind of training is right now and how best to tailor it to benefit workers and employers.”

The program will cover theoretical and practical training in the virtual classroom and will also include 10 weeks of work experience.

“There’s been a great deal of interest and support from local stakeholders in this project,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Businesses are reopening and they’re looking for fully-trained employees who have a variety of skills. This training is a boost to the tourism industry and will provide much-needed jobs to people in the region.”

People living in and around Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Penticton, Revelstoke, Sicamous, and Vernon can contact their local WorkBC Centre for more information about eligibility requirements and to discuss the application process.

Priority for the program will be given to persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, immigrants, victims of violence, multi-barriered persons, and youth.