NANAIMO (CUP) — The B.C. government wants to be absolutely clear: hipster is not a real job.
A $15 million advertising campaign by the B.C. Liberal government that includes “Hipster is not a real job” ads is causing confusion among political adversaries and students alike. The ads are geared towards getting youth excited about pursuing a skilled trade and are currently running on Vancouver public transit.
Gwen O’Mahony, the NDP’s skills training critic, questions the judgment and ability of Premier Christy Clark to connect with B.C. youth.
“I’m quite confused by it. Obviously she [Premier Christy Clark] doesn’t have the groundwork … [to] get out there, talk to students directly, find out where they’re at and make that a part of the investigative work of policy development,” she said. “Clearly this shows that she really hasn’t had a lot of time speaking with students.
“If she [had] even gone to one institution and asked them what they thought of the slogan, I’m sure that the students would have set her straight.”
Other slogans in the campaign are “There’s a reason it’s called being a ski bum” and “Because marrying rich may not pan out.” Trades students at Vancouver Island University (VIU) were also confused by the Liberals’ new ad campaign.
“I don’t really understand the point that they’re trying to get across with the slogan. It doesn’t really make that much sense,” said Ryan Crowder, a VIU electrician student.
“To me, hipster is just a way of dressing; it’s just a style. It’s not a job or someone’s career choice. So to me, I’m not really seeing the message,” said Erin Cooper, a VIU hairdressing student.
O’Mahony and Michelle Mungall, the NDP advanced education critic, have been visiting B.C. campuses this fall to listen to the concerns of students and promote the NDP’s plan to improve access to learning opportunities.
“When I was traveling with Mungall, we mainly were talking to students about their experiences and what’s on their minds, and affordability was the number one issue,” said O’Mahony.
She claimed that within five to 10 years, 80 per cent of all B.C. jobs will require a post-secondary education, and that the B.C. government should be examining this statistic more seriously.
John Yap, the newly appointed minister for advanced education, has stated that increasing skills training is his biggest priority.
“If I were to sum up the focus in the short term, it is to ensure we have the facilities and programs to do trades training,” Yap told the Canadian University Press last month.
“It’s important we offer British Columbians the opportunity to fill those positions and encourage those that are in school and thinking about career options that they consider, if it’s right for them, a career that is well-paying and rewarding, in the trades.”
However, O’Mahony said she believes the Liberals are communicating the appeal of trades in the wrong way.
“You should never underestimate who you’re speaking to; people don’t like to be talked down to,” she said.
“I think just telling people this is how much you’ll get paid if you had a trade or education and this is what you’ll get paid if you don’t is enough.”