Top baby names
In 2015, Oliver was the top name for boys born in B.C., according to the province’s Vital Statistics Agency. It’s the first time that name has topped the list. Emma was the top girls’ name in 2015.
Rounding out the top five girls’ names in 2015 were Olivia, Emily, Sophia, and Ava. The other top boys’ names were Ethan, Liam, Benjamin, and Lucas. When different spellings are taken into account, however, Sophia/Sofia, Emily/Emilee/Emilie, and Amelia/Emelia/Emilia all enter the top five names for girls, while Jackson/Jaxon/Jaxson and Lucas/Lukas enter the top five names for boys.
Preliminary statistics from January 1 to December 12, 2016, show that Lucas is the top name for boys, while Olivia is the most popular name for girls. Final statistics for 2016 will be available later this year.
Anyone working on sewing or other cloth/needlework projects is invited to drop by the Sewing Circle at the Ashcroft HUB on Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m. starting on January 12. The project is in its infancy, and organizer Vicky Trill says “We’ll see where it goes.”
Healthy New Year
Anyone looking to carry out those New Year’s fitness resolutions is reminded that the Ashcroft HUB offers a full range of fitness options, from Merv’s Gym (open to members seven days a week) to daily fitness classes, including Zumba and yoga. For more information visit the Ashcroft HUB Society on Facebook.
We may be in the firm grip of winter at the moment; but spring is around the corner, and local gardeners can get a jump start on the season at the annual Seedy Saturday event at the Cache Creek Community Hall, taking place on Saturday, February 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mark your calendar now for this reminder that warmer weather is on the way; the event will feature garden talks, demonstrations, a seed swap table, gardening information, and more.
Higher graduation rates
A trio of annual reports looking at graduation and completion rates across the province shows that more B.C. students are performing well and completing high school. A report on graduation rates for 2015–16 shows that more students are graduating on time, with completion rates up almost two per cent since 2011–12. Some 84 per cent of B.C. students are graduating, and more Aboriginal and special needs students are graduating than ever before.
The Aboriginal student completion rate has improved steadily over the past five years, and more than 85 per cent of Aboriginal students received passing grades in all key grade 10–12 courses. A report on 2016 provincial exam grades shows that all students in grades 10 to 12 continue to test well in courses with provincial exams, with the number of students getting a C+ or better in the English 10 and 12 exams increasing by two points since 2011–12.
Anyone who has a new job on his or her to-do list for 2017 is encouraged to look at a career in the trades. The British Columbia 2025 Labour Market Outlook ranks a career in trades, transportation, and related occupations as being amongst the top opportunities in B.C., with approximately 123,000 job openings forecasted over the 10-year outlook period.
Training for a career in the trades is valuable. A 2015 survey indicated that 98 per cent of employed former traditional apprenticeship students are working full-time, with a median hourly wage of $31. More people are retiring from the workforce than younger people are entering it; and because of retirements and economic growth, B.C. is expecting almost one million job openings by 2025.
Some 78 per cent of these job openings will require post-secondary education or training, and 42 per cent will require college education or apprenticeship training.