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BladeRunners targets at-risk youth in qathet region; program helps provide job skills

Training supports building skills in people aged 15 to 30
HELPS SUCCESS: Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons has announced the BladeRunners program, which helps young people with work and skills training for in-demand fields.

At-risk youth in the qathet region will be able to gain skills in in-demand fields through BladeRunners, an employment and skills training program that provides wraparound support for young people, according to Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.

“Gaining employment skills helps youth build their skills and confidence, and the BladeRunner program has helped so many youth across the province,” stated Simons in a media release. "I know people who have participated in the program, and I have seen how important wraparound employment supports are in providing them with the tools they need to succeed.”

The release stated that the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) has received more than $10 million in funding over three years to offer this program to youth across coastal BC and the program will be delivered locally by Lift Community Services to those who face barriers to employment.

Simons stated that BladeRunners empowers young people aged 15 to 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 support to help them participate and succeed in the program.

The government is allocating $18.6 million over three years to support the program being delivered by 11 organizations, serving 50 communities across BC. More than 4,000 young people will benefit from this funding, 65 to 70 per cent of whom are expected to be Indigenous.

BladeRunners began as a pilot project in 1994 to address the needs of at-risk youth on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 30 who face multiple barriers to employment can learn more about BladeRunners by contacting the WorkBC Centre in Powell River at 604.485.7958 or by emailing