Canada and B.C. invest in skilled trades at Thompson Rivers University
By On-Site MagazineConstruction LEED federal-provincial funding infrastructure innovation skilled trades skills university
Canadians will be better equipped for the well-paying, middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow as a result of a $30-million investment in a new Industrial Training and Technology Centre at Thompson Rivers University.
The joint federal-provincial investment was announced by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, alongside Terry Lake, Minister of Health and MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson, and Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, on behalf of Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education.
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. The investment at TRU exemplifies that vision in action.
The funding will enable TRU to build a new 5,344-square-metre Industrial Training and Technology Centre that will allow the university to expand its trades and technology programs by an additional 550 full-time equivalent student spaces (FTEs), for a total of approximately 2,050 FTEs. The funding will also go toward the renovation of space in the existing School of Trades and Technology building.
The Government of Canada is contributing $13.25 million and the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education is providing $7.03 million toward the $30-million cost of the project. TRU and donors, including Western Economic Diversification Canada, will contribute an additional $9.72 million.
The funding will be 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 that advance the best research in the country. They will collaborate in specially-designed spaces that support lifelong learning and skills training. They will work in proximity with partners to turn discoveries into products or services. In the process, they will train for —and create — 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 virtuous circle of innovation, creating the right conditions for long-term growth that will yield benefits for generations to come.
Currently, there are over 1,500 seats in construction trades, mechanical trades, industrial electrician and industrial instrumentation technology programs at TRU. The additional 550 seats will include more seats in existing programs, as well as seats in a new power engineering diploma, a new HVAC/ refrigeration technician program and an industrial process technician and instrumentation engineering diploma.
The renovated space in the School of Trades and Technology Building will be used by the architectural and engineering technology program, which will allow the program to expand to offer a fourth year and will have dedicated labs, classrooms and faculty offices within the current trades building.
Construction is expected to get underway in early 2017 with substantial completion by spring 2018 and occupancy in the fall of 2018.
The centre will be built to meet LEED Gold building standard, the Wood First Act and Apprentices on Public Project in BC policy. Construction of the new centre is expected to generate 108 direct and 82 indirect jobs for the region.
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.