Canada-B.C. Community Workforce Response Grant, allowed eligible students to complete JIBC firefighting program at no cost
The latest graduates of a Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) fire training program received a boost to their career pursuits thanks to funding from the federal and provincial governments.
Funding for the cohort of students in the Firefighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) program was provided by the Government of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada through the Canada-B.C. Workforce Development Agreement. Prospective students who have been unemployed or precariously employed (part-time, seasonal or casual) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are exploring new career opportunities, were eligible to apply.
“We’re pleased to be able to provide students with an opportunity take this training on a fully-funded basis, thanks to the Governments of Canada and British Columbia,” said Sarah Wareing, Dean, School of Public Safety. “Firefighting is an occupation identified to be in high demand over the next 10 years in B.C. JIBC is proud to offer its Firefighting Technologies Certificate, a world-class program that fully prepares graduates to enter careers in the fire service.”
Students who complete JIBC’s Firefighting Technologies Certificate program earn their National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 certification accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and the Pro Board®. With this certificate, graduates become sought-after recruit candidates who are prepared to pursue careers in the fire service.
Mackenzie Millward had just graduated with a degree in geology when the pandemic started in 2020. While it left jobs related to her area of study scarce, the pandemic gave her the time to consider her career prospects. That’s when she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a firefighter.
Having her tuition for the FFTC program fully funded allowed her to pursue her new dream career without any financial restrictions and giving her a head start in getting hired on by a fire department.
“This grant allowed me to choose the school that I actually wanted to go to and alleviated my financial restrictions,” Millward said. Without it, “I would’ve gone to a different program that may not have had the best training or the amount of practical experience that we get here … So I feel much more prepared for what the career will look like and I owe it to this grant opportunity coming when it did, giving me a head start on my dream career.”
Similarly, Joel Laurette says the grant funding allowed him to complete the FFTC program sooner than he would have been able to otherwise. After working as a wildland firefighter for seven years, he wanted to transition to a year-round, professional firefighting career. But without the grant, he would have had to work another summer wildfire season before saving enough for the JIBC studies.
“Which means I potentially would’ve missed some hiring opportunities because they come and go so quickly and if you’re not ready and you’re not certified then you can’t apply,” Laurette said.
Ultimately, without the grant he says he would have tried to complete the training as he could afford it. “I would’ve tried but the grant made it so that it took the fear away from trying. I didn’t have to worry about how much it was going to cost.”