New trades training equipment is coming to Okanagan College to better prepare students for the workplace when they leave the classroom.
The funding announcement of $160,000 for trades and technology equipment comes during Apprenticeship Recognition Week in British Columbia. This year, Apprenticeship Recognition Week is Nov. 4 to 10.
“Investing in equipment is an investment in our students and in our communities,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We’re working together to put 21st-century equipment in classrooms and shops to ensure trades students in the Okanagan and throughout the province are on the pathway to success and gaining the skills industry needs.”
An apprenticeship in the skilled trades is an important entry point to a long-lasting, good-paying career that will provide opportunities around the province. A key element of apprenticeship is on-the-job training. About 80% is on the job, while 20% is technical learning in the classroom.
“Classroom training lays the foundation for the lifelong learning journey of skilled tradespeople, said Shelley Gray, interim CEO of the Industry Training Authority (ITA). “With this new funding, apprentices will enter the workforce confidently with relevant knowledge and skills from learning on current and new trades equipment and technology.”
The funding will be used to buy new and replace aging trades and technology equipment. Examples of trades training equipment purchased by various post-secondary institutions last year include a used hybrid car for automotive programs, various types of saws for construction trades programs and equipment for culinary programs. Technology equipment purchased last year included iPads, 3D printers and new servers, as well as wind and solar energy training equipment.
“The newly opened Trades Training Centre at our Vernon campus is an example of our commitment to innovation and inclusivity in education,” said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Up-to-date equipment is another way we can provide the most relevant and high-quality education to trades students at our campuses and help meet the demand for skilled tradespeople in the North Okanagan and beyond.”
The $160,000 for Okanagan College is part of an investment of $3 million in 2018-19 at 19 public post-secondary institutions in new trades and tech training equipment. The funding is allocated for this fiscal year, with the new equipment expected to be in place by April 2019.
- This is the fourth year B.C. has proclaimed Apprenticeship Recognition Week to celebrate and recognize apprenticeships and the positive effect they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.
- Women represent less than 9% of apprentices, and less than 5% of working women in B.C. have chosen a career in the construction trades. In March 2018, the Province announced $1.8 million worth of services and programs to support women working in or starting careers in the building trades.
- Trades and technology workers are in high demand in B.C. It’s anticipated the provincial economy will have 82,300 job openings in technology and 70,900 job openings in the trades by 2028.
- High-demand trades occupations in B.C. include millwrights, heavy duty mechanics and carpenters.
- High-demand occupations in the tech industry include civil engineering, computer and software engineering, programming, web development and technicians.
- The ITA funded more than 26,000 apprenticeship seats last year in more than 100 trades programs at 15 public post-secondary institutions, as well as private post-secondary institutions.
- The $3 million in equipment funding builds on $5.4 million provided to 15 post-secondary institutions for trades and technology equipment last year.