EDMONTON -- The Alberta government is sending a $2-million message to young people in the province: consider a career in trades.

On Thursday, the government announced it would be increasing funding by half-a-million dollars to Skills Canada Alberta, which promotes skilled trades and technology industries.

The funding increase means the group will get a total of $8 million over the next four years, having previously received a commitment of $1.5 million annually.

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides called a skilled workforce the "backbone of a prosperous economy," adding he sees apprenticeship learning as valuable as university education.

The announcement comes on the heels of news that Houston Oil & Gas Ltd. would be shuttering in southern Alberta, signaling troubling times for some industries in the province.

"There are segments that are still suffering, especially in the engineering programs and what not. It is a challenge, I know it's a challenge," Ray Massey, Skills Canada Alberta president, told CTV News Edmonton.

"I like to remind people, this is a moment in time. This is not always going to be that way."

Massey believes young people—like St. Joseph High School Grade 12 student, Sigrun Chipman—can get ahead of the game by finding what they could enjoy as work early on.

Chipman is an aspiring welder who said she doesn't want to work in an office or at a computer all day.

"I knew I had to work with my hands and do something creative," she said.

"I thought (welding) was so much fun. I fell in love with it immediately."

The government also provided $200,000 to Skills Canada Alberta in support of sending four Albertans to participate in the 2019 WorldSkills competition in Kazan, Russia, in August.

Last month, CAREERS: The Next Generation saw its funding tripled by the provincial government to $6 million a year by 2022-23.

With a report from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk