Premier Christy Clark announced today $17 million in funding to upgrade skills training equipment at public post-secondary institutions around the province.
"Our economy is growing and with growth comes changing skills and training needs. Today's investment will make sure our students have access to latest technologies so that they can graduate job ready," said Premier Clark. "Under the BC Jobs Plan, our government is committed to delivering high-quality training that is in demand today so students can be working tomorrow."
The equipment upgrades will benefit students, apprentices and instructors in training programs for a range of occupations. Examples include heavy duty equipment and automotive service technicians, carpenters, commercial transport mechanics, cooks, construction workers, electricians, metal fabricators, industrial mechanics, plumbers and sheet metal workers.
Examples of new equipment purchases may include pumps, welders, wheel balancers, diesel engine trailers and drill presses.
"We're conducting an extensive inventory and analysis of the skilled training equipment at each of our post-secondary institutions, and will continue to work with our partners in education and industry to ensure money is provided for equipment that is needed most," said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. "It's part of our commitment under the BC Jobs Plan to train the right workers, for the right jobs, in the right place, at the right time."
This fall, government will continue its consultations with educators, the Industry Training Authority and industry training organizations to finalize decisions on equipment needs and funding amounts for each institution. The specific equipment upgrades will vary from institution to institution, depending on local needs, industry requirements, training programs offered and the state of current equipment.
"Having first-rate equipment is integral to a quality hands-on learning experience for our students, so this announcement is very welcome news," said College of New Caledonia president John Bowman. "We look forward to hearing the details around the funding the College of New Caledonia will receive."
"This represents a critically important investment in B.C.'s industry training system," said Kevin Evans, CEO of the Industry Training Authority. "Ensuring our apprentices are training on leading-edge equipment is essential to producing a workforce with the leading edge skills required to take advantage of the economic opportunities before us."
Premier Clark made the announcement today in the atrium of the new Technical Education Centre at the Prince George campus of the College of New Caledonia. The centre houses training programs for trades such as welding, machinist, auto-collision repair, industrial mechanic/millwright and plumbing.
The college received nearly $30 million from the provincial and federal governments through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program for new technical training facilities at its campuses in Prince George and Quesnel, which were both officially opened in December 2011.
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology