The addition of 48 trades training seats at Okanagan College will increase student access to skills training in a range of high-demand careers, announced Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, during a visit to the Kelowna campus.
“It’s an incredible privilege to be able to visit colleges, institutes and universities throughout our beautiful province and witness trades students in action,” said Mark. “It’s very apparent that the trades offer good-paying jobs, and that they play an essential role in building strong communities and growing our economy.”
The Government of British Columbia has provided the college with just under $196,000 for 16 sheet metal apprentice seats, 16 plumbing trades seats and 16 heavy mechanical trades foundation seats.
“This funding will create additional capacity in some of our most in-demand trades programs and will provide greater access to skilled training for nearly 50 people in our community,” said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Those students will be better prepared to enter the workforce and will do much to meet the labour-market demands of the region.”
There is high demand by employers for many trades occupations throughout British Columbia due to retirements and economic development.
“In-class training is such an important part of trades training. It lays the technical foundation for the skills apprentices learn in the workplace,” said Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority. “The Industry Training Authority is thankful for the additional investment the government is making towards ensuring the skilled trades industry continues to grow strong.”
Students completing their education and training in the trades will find job opportunities in the Okanagan and throughout B.C.
“It’s great for students to see this kind of investment being made in trades training because it is one of the fastest-growing industries,” said Kevin McNicol, a student in the heavy duty mechanical foundation program at Okanagan College. “Increasing funding for trades will provide more opportunities for students like me.”
The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is working to increase access to post-secondary education, including more access to apprenticeship opportunities at public post-secondary institutions.