Surrey Board of Trade Receives Over $263,000 Grant from BC Government to Support Digital Workforce Upskilling

SURREY, BC – In partnership with Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) and Western Community College, the Surrey Board of Trade has received B.C.’s Community Workforce Response Grant program funding in the amount of $263,229.00.

The project provided 13 weeks in a classroom setting of Digital Business Essentials, addressing market disruption from COVID-19, as the businesses transition to a digital economy. Project targeted unemployed and underemployed individuals including those from equity groups (immigrants, women, PWDs, older workers) with occupational skills training, on-the-job training, employment assistance services, and financial support to secure sustainable employment with small/medium sized businesses requiring digital business management skills. The project addressed BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, supporting local entrepreneurs to develop, deploy, scale, and adapt new businesses to support recovery of regional economies. Following the 13 weeks of classroom learning, there was 3 weeks of work experience through an occupational skills training program.

“The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased to have received this funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement, and to work with PICS and Western Community College to deliver this leadership-oriented training and connection to businesses to ensure workforce support,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “There is a shortage of digitally literate business managers in BC, with 2,140 expected job openings over the next ten years, as well as 2.1% industry growth. COVID-19 has caused further disruption to operations, transitioning to digital or remote business models. Participants will be suitable for job-openings and increased demand for digitally capable business management staff due to unforeseen issues such as limited pool of digitally literate managers, facility restrictions, and more.”

“Providing new skills to workers is a much-needed solution for addressing market disruption from COVID-19, “said Raj Hundal, Director of Employment Programs at PICS. “I’m proud to have been part of a project that worked with the Surrey Board of Trade and WCC to help businesses transition to a digital economy.”

“This project delivered a virtually immersive educational experience for participants to build their skills. To handle the aftermath of COVID-19, we want our participants to learn critical skills they need to thrive in post-COVID economy,” said Gurpal Dhaliwal, President of Western Community College. “Western Community College is proud to partner with both the Surrey Board of Trade and PICS to offer occupational skills training during this difficult time.”

“This program is aligned with our government’s commitment to build a more inclusive and innovative economy that doesn’t leave anyone behind,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The pandemic has introduced new challenges to the way we conduct business, and these challenges require a collaborative effort to create better opportunities for British Columbian’s.”

PICS delivered Employment Assistance Services and Western Community College provided occupational skills training.

Project objectives included:

Participants complete Business Management certified training
Participants acquire digital business management skills
Participants receive supervised work experience in business settings and online business platforms
Participants gain training and experience to assist in finding sustainable employment in the business sector

“The project was delivered virtually to 20 unemployed individuals, youth, immigrants, women, laid off workers, and older workers aged 55 plus.”

-30-Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342,