A $25,000 Vancouver Island University study will chart a future direction for policy makers to support traditional tradesmen, such as cheese makers and weavers.
A team of VIU researchers at Vancouver Island University was awarded a Research Council of Canada grant to expand the body of knowledge of labour market issues related to small scale artisans and agri-food producers.
The team wants to know the best ways to support traditional tradesmen such as, potters, jewelry makers, wine makers and meat processors.
"We're excited about this opportunity," said Nicole Vaugeois, VIU tourism and sustainable and rural development chairwoman.
She and co-applicant Pascale Knoglinger, of Économusée B.C. Artisans at Work, got one of 16 initiatives funded, from 47 applicants across Canada.
Artisans and agri-food producers provide selfemployment opportunities in rural communities, yet the group "is often ignored by government, education institutions and other funding agencies in favour of their larger cousins, the industrial trades," Vaugeois said.
She said the entrepreneurial sector could be gone "within the next 10 to 20 years" as entrepreneurs retire, yet they "keep our heritage alive through their crafts."
With support, Vaugeois said the trades sector can preserve culture to rejuvenate rural regions.
It will add to the body of research materials available when setting future labour market policy.
"Our final report, which is due in December, won't be sitting on a shelf gathering dust," she said.
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