30 new dual-credit programs will be introduced at school districts throughout B.C. Students from Grade 11 and 12 will now have an opportunity to earn both high school and post-secondary credits toward careers in early childhood education.

The programs will be funded by both a $4.1-million provincial investment from Budget 2022 and $1.15 million federal funding through the 2021-25 Canada-British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. Participating school districts will be offering these programs as partnerships with nearby post-secondary institutions.

“Early childhood educators (ECEs) play a vital role in supporting the growth and potential of our youngest learners in B.C.,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care.

“Investing in the education of ECEs is investing in children, which is why we’re expanding the ECE dual-credit program to give more students opportunities to study and work in early learning and child care – a rewarding and in-demand career.”

Entry into post-secondary training will be more affordable as tuition costs for the courses are covered by the program. Approximately 800 secondary students are expected to enroll in early childhood education dual-credit programs by the end of 2025.

“There is a strong need for early childhood educators now and in the coming decade, and that’s why we are working to give high school students who are interested in a career as an ECE an opportunity to get a head start on their post-secondary studies,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care.

“High school students who complete dual-credit courses are more likely to graduate on time and transition to post-secondary education, leading to better career opportunities, while also helping develop our province’s workforce in the early childhood education sector.”

It is anticipated that more than 15,000 new licensed child care spaces will be in operation by the end of 2022. This will create an estimated 10,000 net new job openings for certified ECEs and assistants in the coming decade.

Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, believes that the ECEs will be a big boost in the economy, addressing labour shortages.
“By increasing the number of people studying to become early childhood educators and increasing parents’ ability to find child care, we are supporting
parents to return to work or explore education or skills training themselves.”

The Province’s efforts to improve access to training, professional development opportunities and bursaries and providing enhanced wages for the ECE sector will be crucial to the province’s economic recovery plan. B.C. is committed to building a reliable child care service and its 10-year ChildCareBC plan will enable more parents – especially mothers – to pursue work, education and other opportunities.