A new Trades Training Centre at Okanagan College with modern equipment will prepare more skilled-trades students with the right skills and knowledge needed to build communities throughout British Columbia.
Located at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, the 1,250 square-metre Trades Training Centre offers a purpose-built training space for students and instructors. The centre houses a dedicated welding shop and multi-use space for carpentry, electrical, plumbing and pipefitting programs.
“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and startup companies into global successes. This investment will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”
The Trades Training Centre improves capacity, with the number of teaching spaces increasing by almost 40% to 150 spaces — up from 108 spaces.
The centre will house the college’s Women in Trades training program. It will create space for specialized programming, such as Gateway to the Trades initiatives tailored to Indigenous communities and employers in the region. These programs provide women and Indigenous learners with outreach, mentoring and leadership development to promote careers in the skilled trades.
“Skilled tradespeople are helping to build the best B.C. Opening the doors to relevant, responsive and high-quality trades training in communities such as Vernon gives students the knowledge and experience that employers and industries need,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “With thousands of careers expected in the trades over the next 10 years, we need to ensure we are supporting a strong future workforce.”
The centre will also allow Okanagan College to unite trades students on campus who were previously training at leased facilities near the Vernon airport. It has been constructed to meet the minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard, building on the college’s commitment to delivering sustainable facilities.
Of the $6.21-million total project cost, the Province of B.C. provided $2.88 million and the Government of Canada provided $2.66 million. The Okanagan College Foundation has raised nearly $1 million to cover the $673,000 capital construction cost, as well as provide support for students and programming. Federal funding was made available through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
Stephen Fuhr, MP for Kelowna – Lake Country –
"Our government is proud to invest $2 billion for infrastructure improvement at post-secondary institutions across Canada. Modern learning spaces are key to helping students develop the skills they'll need for the jobs of today and tomorrow."
Jim Hamilton, president, Okanagan College –
“Thanks to the support of the federal and provincial governments and the remarkable generosity of our community and industry partners, this new facility will help train the students who will literally build our communities. Our Vernon Trades Training Centre is going to be critical in making sure there are enough skilled tradespeople to meet our industry partners’ labour demands and keep the region’s economy strong and vibrant.”
Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority –
“A modern trades training space is a sure way to prepare British Columbians with the right skills and knowledge for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Investments in advancing trades training are so important. By offering programs that support trades training for Indigenous peoples and women, more opportunities will be created for them to pursue rewarding careers in their communities.”
Amanda Hodgson, electrical foundation graduate, Okanagan College –
“Technology is constantly evolving in the trades, so having a new facility like this, with the latest equipment, is really going to enhance the learning experience for students. Having the facility right on campus is also going to mean students will enjoy an even better experience and can tap into all the amenities and services at the Vernon campus.”
- Investments through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund are being used to modernize facilities at Canadian universities and colleges, as well as improve the energy efficiency of these facilities and reduce their impact on the environment. As a result of these investments, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities that advance the country’s best research. They will collaborate in specially designed spaces that support lifelong learning and skills training. They will work in close proximity with partners to turn discoveries into products or services. In the process, they will train for, and invent, the high-value jobs of the future.
- In total, British Columbia received $256 million through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. In B.C., 20 public post-secondary institutions and one private First Nation institution benefited from a total of 30 individual projects.
Canada’s innovation agenda: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/home
Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/051.nsf/eng/home