Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk joined faculty, staff and students to mark the beginning of construction of a new $30-million trades training centre at Camosun College with a formal ground breaking.
"Throughout British Columbia, we are building skills and trades training through targeted investments in infrastructure, equipment and programs," said Virk. "The new trades training centre at Camosun College will assist students in their transition from learning to earning."
The Centre for Trades Education and Innovation is a new 7,432 square metre (80,000 square foot) building. It will house a marine and metal trades training program that includes welding, sheet metal, metal fabrication, nautical and ship building and repair programs. The mechanical trades program will train students in heavy-duty commercial truck transport mechanics and automotive service technician. Trades students will benefit from study space in a large open atrium, classroom and lab space, as well as an outdoor trades work yard for project and practical work.
"We are working hard to ensure industry has the skilled workers it needs today, tomorrow and into the future," said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond. "The trades centre will help young British Columbians get the skills they need to meet this demand and build a successful career in the trades."
Additionally, the project will retrofit and refurbish the existing trades facilities to bring them up to date with full electrical and data network upgrades and to make better use of the current space. Once complete the new facilities will give the college the capacity to accommodate an additional 370 new full-time equivalent seats in trades training programs. Currently, the college has more than 2,200 students per year in 20 different trades foundation and apprenticeship programs.
"Camosun is the largest trades-technology institution on Vancouver Island, and this new facility will help propel our college and our region to the very forefront of trades education and innovation. Not only will it allow Camosun to expand into new program areas like renewable energy and ship building, but it will provide our trades students the unique opportunity to learn from related disciplines like business and technology, and take part in practical, hands-on experiences through our emerging partnerships with industry," said Camosun president Kathryn Laurin.
As well as providing first-class trades training for post-secondary trades students, the college offers high school students dual credit opportunities that help them transition seamlessly from secondary school to college and the workplace. This program is the result of the South Island Partnership between Camosun, the five school districts of southern Vancouver Island and local industry leaders.
"Whether we're talking about marine and metal trades, mechanical, manufacturing or sustainable construction trades, our new training complex will ensure Camosun students are exposed to the latest learning environments and technology available so that they can build successful career paths and be well prepared with the cutting-edge skills employers are demanding," said Camosun dean of trades and technology Eric Sehn.
The B.C. government has invested $29.2 million in the project with Camosun contributing $800,000. It is estimated that almost 200 jobs, mainly construction, will be generated over the course of the project.
The new Centre for Trades Education and Innovation is expected to be completed in the summer 2015. The overall project including any renovation work to Jack White and John Drysdale buildings is expected to be complete in spring 2016.
The new facilities will meet B.C.'s Wood First policy and LEED gold standard requirement. Construction will be led by Kinetic Construction Ltd., one of the largest contractors on Vancouver Island, who submitted a successful tender for the project following a competitive tender.
Camosun College offers apprenticeship training for 20 distinct trades, including nine trades with the interprovincial Red Seal Endorsement. More than 600 students are enrolled in Camosun's trades foundation program each year.
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