New provincial funding will increase students’ access to tech-related programs at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus and Okanagan College, giving them access to the skills needed to succeed in B.C.’s rapidly growing tech sector.
“Students deserve a government that works with them, providing the right opportunities that empower them to innovate, create and excel in the tech jobs of the future,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Okanagan students have exciting opportunities to access tech-related programs, from animation to engineering and computer science.”
The University of British Columbia is receiving $600,000 in startup funding, in part to support new manufacturing-engineering and expanded computer-science degree programs at its Okanagan campus. These will result in 96 seats per year by 2022-23, and are expected to produce 24 additional graduates per year by 2023.
“We’re grateful for the Province’s investments in students in the Okanagan and Vancouver, which will enable UBC to deepen the talent pool for data scientists, software engineers, manufacturing innovators and biomedical researchers in B.C. companies,” said Santa J. Ono, president of UBC. “We will continue to work with industry, government and our post-secondary partners to ensure students are best prepared for high-paying, in-demand careers in tech fields, including computer science and biomedical and mechanical engineering in B.C.”
Further to the one-time funding of $250,000 last year to support the program’s launch in September 2017, the Province will provide annual funding for a total of 30 spaces in the animation diploma program at Okanagan College. This funding will produce 15 graduates per year by 2020, and will allow Okanagan College to offer the animation program on an ongoing basis at a lower cost to students.
The next intake of animation students at Okanagan College is planned for September 2018.
“Technology will play a big role in our future economy,” said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Funding innovative programming such as the animation diploma at the college will result in greater access to educational pathways that will lead directly to jobs in our booming Okanagan tech sector. The B.C. government’s investment in this program will yield positive results for employers, industry partners and of course the students who will now be able to take this program.”
Of the 83,400 job openings in tech-related fields in the next decade, 5,100 will occur in the Thompson-Okanagan region. The new and expanded programs at UBCO and Okanagan College will help ensure growing industry demand in the region for highly trained graduates is met.
“B.C.’s tech sector is healthy and growing, but in need of skilled workers to sustain the momentum,” said Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “Industry will be thrilled to hear that so many great programs are being added and expanded around the province. Talent developed here in the Okanagan and throughout B.C. will enable us to make our mark in tech on the world stage.”
These spaces are part of the investment in approximately 2,900 additional seats in tech programs at colleges, universities and institutes throughout the province. Total startup funding this year is $4.4 million, and is expected to increase to $42 million as programs ramp up over the next several years.
- About 83,400 tech-related job openings in B.C. are expected by 2027. Of those, 5,100 will occur in the Thompson-Okanagan region — jobs like computer programmers, information system analysts and software engineers.
- The tech sector in B.C. is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy, generating approximately $29 billion in revenue and providing over 106,000 good-paying jobs. It is home to more than 10,200 businesses.
- Tech-sector workers earn weekly average salaries almost 85% higher than the average wage in B.C.
- Post-secondary institutions in B.C. award more than 10,000 credentials annually in programs that support the tech sector: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
For the 2017 edition of the B.C. Labour Market Outlook, visit: http://workbc.ca/labourmarketoutlook