Programs for Rural & Northern Communities

For an up-to-date resource on publicly-funded employment programs across the province, check out our new BC Employment Program Hub!


Employment Program of BC (EPBC)

The Employment Programs of BC offers job search assistance, training, workshops as well as specialized services to all job seekers in the province. Immigrants, Aboriginal people, Francophones, people with disabilities, youth, older workers, multi-barriered people, and those living in rural and northern communities have equal access to this employment program. More information on the types of services provided by WorkBC Employment Services Centres located across the province can be found using the interactive map on the EPBC website.


• Unemployed or underemployed (less than 20 hours per week)
• BC resident


Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training (FIRST Logger)

The FIRST program is a pilot program operating in Prince George, Okanagan/Kootenays, and the North/Northwest areas. This training program offers up to 50 days of training and mentoring as well as job placements in the forest industry that could lead to permanent employment. The program is provided by the Central Interior Logging Association (CILA) and has been effective in addressing skilled labour shortage in rural and northern BC.


• Resident of BC
• Interested working in the forest industry
• Strong work ethic, mechanical and spatial ability, willing to learn

Update: We’re sorry, but unfortunately, this program is no longer available. Please go back to the Resources page for more related programs.

North East Aboriginal Trade Training

North East Native Advancing Society (NENAS) provides 8-week Essential Skills for Apprenticeship and 8-week Pre-Apprenticeship Exploration courses to Aboriginal people residing in Northeastern BC. Participants may receive training in personal development skills, workplace essential skills, and apprenticeship preparation. Participants may also have an opportunity to gain work experience in trades.


• Aboriginal people (First nations (status or non-status), Metis or Inuit)
• Residing in Northeastern BC


Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP)

The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program provides small business loan assistance to people with disabilities in rural communities who want to start their own businesses. Services also include business consultation, business plan development, and access to business resources.


• Person with disability or chronic health problems
• Residing in a rural community in BC
• Interested in starting a business


SkillCentral Job Match Initiative

The Job Match Initiative is a pilot program that focuses on skilled labour shortages in Northern BC. This program assists unemployed individuals find employment in the construction sector and supports employers in the industry by providing assessments and training programs. Services are provided by the B.C. Construction Association (BCCA) in five different WorkBC employment service centres in Northern BC.


• Participants are identified through the WorkBC employment service centres based on assessment

Unfortunately, this program is no longer available. Please stay tuned for more details.

Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Skills Development Program

The Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Skills Development Program provides Aboriginal people residing in Northeastern BC region with an opportunity to develop valuable business skills and start their own business. Services include skills and business training, cultural workshops, mentoring, coaching, referrals, and follow-up.


• Aboriginal adults (First Nations, Metis, Inuit)
• Interested in self-employment
• Residing in Northeastern BC


Northern Skills Training Centre (formerly known as Northern Skills Training Pilot [NST])

The NSTC program provides forestry, mining, and construction workers in Northern BC with opportunities to learn and improve their essential skills. Members of the Steelworkers union can take courses and receive training that would help them advance in their career.


• Employed in low-skilled jobs
• Members of the Steelworkers union


Industry Training Authority (formerly known as Apprentice BC)

This website provides job search assistance for apprentices who are out-of-trade and/or unemployed by connecting them with employers in the resource trades sector. By registering and submitting their profile, apprentices can post their resume on the website so employers in Northern BC can search for potential candidates. Once matched, apprentices can complete their apprenticeships and obtain their trade qualifications.


• Unemployed apprentice who does not have an Industry sponsor for their apprenticeship
• Registered in a trade within the Resource Sector
• Residing in Northern BC or willing to relocate to Northern BC


Related items in the Knowledge Clearinghouse:

  1. Programs for Women
  2. Programs for Francophones
  3. Programs for Youth