Skills BC and ASTTBC Make Technology SIZZLE. Amber Papou, Executive Director of Skills Canada – BC is “a real champion for technology education and careers” according to ASTTBC CEO John Leech, who connected with Amber to consider how the two groups can do more to encourage youth to pursue careers in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. ’Technology’ has gained a growing level of interest and attention, notably by the BC Government. “ASTTBC has taken a lead role in promoting tech education and careers over the past decade,” enthused John Leech. “We have been successful through various initiatives in attracting the support of Government leaders such as the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Shirley Bond and Amrik Virk, the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, both of whom are stretching out with ’Technology’ as part of their messaging.” The BC Government’s ‘Blueprint’ makes reference to technical education and careers, a major step in bringing attention to the important role of ASTTBC members in BC’s economy. ASTTBC’s CEO also noted there are MANY within the BC Government, Cabinet Ministers and MLAs and staff, who are very supportive of technology education and careers. “They see and understand the need for, and critical role of, engineering and applied science technologists, technicians and technical specialists as we work together to grow and sustain the BC economy,” said Leech.
“Trades AND Technology… Trades AND Technology… “ is a refrain you will hear from time to time when talking with Amber. Skills BC has a mandate to promote trades and technology careers, however more emphasis on technology is needed. Trades has received a lot of play for more than a decade and thanks to people like Amber ’Technology’ has gained a growing level of interest and attention.
John and Amber agreed to move ahead together on a number of fronts including doing more to engage women in technology. The two considered how ASTTBC might further support and assist young girls and women to become better acquainted with tech careers. Decisions were made that will make a difference: a two minute video on women in technology will be produced by ASTTBC; ASTTBC will add new career information provided by Amber to the BC Women in Technology web site; and, Skills BC will work with ASTTBC as the Association looks at how the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes might better capture the current and evolving technology occupations.
An ASTTBC eagle feather carved by Salish artist Len McKay was given by John to Amber out of consideration and respect for her leadership in advancing STEM careers in British Columbia.