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Premier will take skills-training show on the road

IF it's Wednesday, this must be Dauphin.

A lot of people in rural Manitoba will get a chance to see Premier Greg Selinger this week, and hear about skills training and job opportunities for young people -- sprinkled with nuggets about new programs.

First up, Peguis First Nation, where Selinger will be this afternoon, on his way to Gimli.

"We'll do a specific announcement on an employment readiness program. It's an opportunity to train up to 16 people from the community for the manufacturing jobs that are available in the area," Selinger said in an interview Sunday.

He's taking along Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum and Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald. "There'll be experts from the trades, and employers too," the premier said.

"We're out there to listen to what people's priorities are for skills and training and employment for young people," Selinger said. "We're promoting greater partnerships among the high schools, apprenticeships, workplaces, and the community colleges."

Tuesday, Selinger will announce an agreement between Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College for easier transfer of credits between the two institutions.

Earlier that day, his tour will be in Portage la Prairie, where he's invited Tory MLA Ian Wishart to take part as the premier announces a trades summer-camp plan.

Selinger said he's taken similar tours around Manitoba to discuss the budget and flood issues, but this is the first time touting skills training. "We have a major investment in the upgrading of shops" in high schools, he noted.

That's one of the reasons he decided to blend the separate K-12 and post-secondary departments under one minister, Selinger said.

Friday, Selinger will be in Swan River where he'll announce funding for high school technical and vocational programs.

"We're going to have much more emphasis on skills training in schools" for the jobs Manitoba needs, while retaining the same emphasis on academics, said the premier. "It's not either/or.

"No wrong-door approach -- one thing can lead to another," he said.

Selinger said students can learn a trade, then start their own business in small communities, "whether it's electrical or plumbing," he said.

"Today, our province is building like never before and all this momentum offers good job and training opportunities for families," said Selinger. "That's why we're creating new apprenticeship and college training opportunities, to give our kids more options and help set them on the path to a good career and a brighter future.

"A good career means our young people can have the chance to build a good life and buy a home, right here in Manitoba," he said. The province is requested advance registration; to register, call 204-945-1555 or 1-855-346-3671 (toll-free).

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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