On-Site Magazine

$6.21M investment will create jobs, puts students first and supports skills training

By On-Site Magazine   

Construction Skills Development B.C. skills training trades

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-1-41-13-pmCanadians will be better equipped for well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow as a result of a $6.21-million investment in a new trades training centre at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College in B.C.

This joint federal-provincial investment was announced by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education for the Province of British Columbia.

The Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment at Okanagan College is a prime example of that vision in action.

The funding will support the construction of a new 1,250 sq.-m (13,450 sq.-ft.) Trades Training Centre, which will address a shortage of available trades training shops in the region by providing a purpose-built space at the Okanagan College Vernon campus.

 The new building will include multipurpose trades shops and supporting space, a dedicated welding shop and multi-use trade space for the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as Aboriginal and Women in Trades Training programs.

“This once-in-a-generation investment by the Government of Canada is a historic down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up 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,” said Bains.

The new Trades Training Centre in Vernon will provide on-campus training capacity for approximately 150 trades students, compared to the existing off-site leased trades facility that supports approximately 108 students per year.

Federal-provincial funding for this project includes:

  • $2.66 million from the Government of Canada; and
  • $2.88 million from the Province of British Columbia.

Okanagan College will contribute $670,000 to the project.

The funding from the Government of Canada is being allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

As a result of these investments, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities. 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. And their discoveries will plant the seeds for the next generation of innovators.

That is how the Strategic Investment Fund will jump-start a circle of innovation, creating the right conditions for long-term growth that will yield benefits for generations to come.

Construction is expected to get underway shortly with completion by spring 2018. The new building will be built to LEED Gold certification and construction is expected to create 25 direct and 13 indirect jobs for the region.

With four campuses throughout B.C., Okanagan College enrolls over 20,000 students annually and offers a wide range of programs including trades training, technical certifications, university transfer courses, diploma and degree programs.

Nearly one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next decade, and eight out of 10 of these openings will require post-secondary education. In-demand occupations requiring post-secondary education or training range from professional to management to trades.

Quick Facts:

  • The Government of Canada is contributing $2.66 million and the Province of British Columbia is providing $2.88 million toward the $6.21 million cost of the project. Okanagan College will contribute the balance of the project cost.
  • The Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda is designed to ensure Canada is globally competitive in promoting research, translating ideas into new products and services, accelerating business growth and propelling entrepreneurs from the start-up phase to international success.
  • The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.
  • The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada’s climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.
  • The new Trades Training Centre at Okanagan College is part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer education and training programs using a data-driven system that focuses investments on training for in-demand jobs.
  • Since the blueprint was launched in 2014, government has invested almost $2 million for 503 critical trades seats, over $2.3 million for industry-standard training equipment and contributed $28 million toward the $35-million Trades Renewal Project at Okanagan College.
  • The new Trades Training Centre is part of the commitment by the provincial government to invest $185 million in trades training facilities and equipment throughout the province as outlined in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.


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