Government of Canada and Prince Edward Island Support Careers in Skilled Trades and Technology

Senator Mike Duffy, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) today announced nearly $850,000 in funding for the 2009 Canadian Skills Competition.

"In today's environment, it is more important than ever that youth develop the skills they will need to participate and succeed in the job market," said Senator Duffy. "This competition is a wonderful opportunity for young Canadians to demonstrate the skills and talent they have developed."

The Government of Prince Edward Island is providing $550,000 to Holland College to help fund the 2009 Canadian Skills Competition, while the Government of Canada will contribute almost $300,000. Of this amount, Service Canada will provide $249,979 through the Canada-Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreement, co-managed with the provincial Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will provide $50,000.

"The Government of Prince Edward Island is pleased to sponsor the Canadian Skills Competition," said Minister Campbell. "This event will help educate our Island youth about career opportunities that exist in skilled trades and technologies, as well as encourage them to get the education and training they need to get a good job. Skills development is also a key component to developing a strong labour force, as set out in our government's economic and innovation strategy, Island Prosperity: A Focus for Change."

The event, which is taking place from May 20 to 23, will bring together over 500 Provincial and Territorial Champions to compete for the title of Canadian Champion in over 40 Trades and Technology Competitions.

"The Holland College training model has a long tradition of working cooperatively with government and industry to ensure that our economy has the skilled work force necessary to meet the economic demands now and in the future. We are pleased and excited therefore to be able to offer the many resources of Holland College to this ambitious and relevant undertaking," added Dr. Brian McMillan, Vice-President of Programs at Holland College.

Not only will people get to watch Canada's top trade and technology students compete, they will also get to see more than $3 million in state-of-the-art equipment put to use by the competitors. The event is open to the general public, and is expected to attract more than 6,000 people from Prince Edward Island and across the region.

Mr. Collin Affleck, President of Skills Canada PEI, stated: "such a large and complex undertaking would not be possible without the support of all levels of government. Our many private sector partners have provided tremendous support, and the almost 1,000 volunteers from across the country and here in Prince Edward Island have given of their time, energy and technical skills to ensure that this year's competition exceeds the standards set at the previous 14 Canadian Skills Competitions."

This project reflects the federal government's commitment to support Canada's work force, as announced in January 2009 as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.

Further information can be found in the attached backgrounder.

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