British Columbia is now developing 20 open, online textbooks specifically for post-secondary skills training and technical programs. The online textbooks  will be developed based on an open call for proposals , and will be available online starting September 2015. The 20 online textbooks for skills training and technical programs are in addition to the 19 made available in 2013 and the 21 others expected to be ready by September 2014 for 40 highly enrolled first-year and second-year post-secondary subjects.
“British Columbia’s open textbooks are already being used by students all over the province who are studying science, arts and business,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “Now students taking skills and technical training programs like electrical, oil and gas, tourism, nursing and others will also be able to get some of their textbooks online for free, saving hundreds of dollars. This is another way we’re matching education with jobs, ensuring students are getting affordable, accessible training to move from learner to earner.”
The open textbooks for skills training and technical programs support the priorities in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint  to align training with the labour market, and a total of 20 open textbooks will be developed for:
- High-demand foundational trades programs, such as carpentry, pipefitting, electrical and plumbing.
- Oil and gas programs supporting the LNG industry.
- Tourism and hospitality programs.
- Adult basic education programs linked to giving students essential skills for trades and technical training.
- Mining-related programs.
- Health-care programs, such as health-care assistant, practical nursing and registered nursing.
“The Open Textbooks Project creates another avenue of access to post-secondary education in B.C. by helping to make it more affordable for all students,” said Ralph Nilson, chair of the Trades Training Consortium of British Columbia, and president and vice-chancellor of Vancouver Island University. “Expanding the number of textbooks available online and focusing on the area of skills training and technical programs will help post-secondary institutions to achieve B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint by meeting industry’s demand for more skilled workers.”
On a side note, the open online textbook program is also looking for reviewers. See the RFP for reviewers page  for further information.