Renovated Trades Training Complex opens at Okanagan College
September 22, 2016
Premier Christy Clark and Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson have officially opened the newly renovated $35-million Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College.
The updated facility will prepare students for in-demand careers that support a diverse, growing and strong economy.
“Trades students have a nearly unlimited potential ahead of them in B.C.,” said Premier Clark. “They’re being equipped with the skills for a career in fields that are not only in high demand today, but also emerging sectors that will need skilled workers for years to come.”
The new 6,237-square metre expansion and the renovation of the 4,385 square metres of existing space were funded through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which targets $185 million for new trades training infrastructure and equipment.
The complex accommodates over 2,700 students per year and includes new and updated space for shops and classes. Students can choose from a variety of apprenticeship programs, diploma programs and foundation certificate programs that will provide them with the education and skills they need to prepare for their future careers.
“Through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, we continue to support projects that prepare students for jobs that strengthen their local communities,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Students at Okanagan College will gain the skills and experience they need to take advantage of good careers in the trades.”
Funding for the project builds on investments previously made in Okanagan College as part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. This includes over $1.8 million toward the purchase of industry-standard trades equipment and almost $2 million for an additional 503 trades seats since the launch of the Blueprint on April 29, 2014.
“Today we are proud to be celebrating the opening of our new trades complex,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “This is a space that truly reflects the importance of skilled trades training and the value our students bring to our communities. It is one of our most sustainable buildings and is intended to showcase latest technologies and inspire students and others. The success of this project is in no small way attributed to the support we have received from our community and I continue to be grateful for that support.”
The Province contributed $28 million of the $35-million total project cost. Okanagan College is meeting the additional amount through fundraising.
“When I started the program there wasn’t room for the electrical students on campus so we were learning at a leased site near the airport,” said fourth-year electrician apprentice Patrick Bailey. “I was told we would eventually move to the new building and I thought it would be worth the wait. And here we are now, and I’m beyond impressed. I want to express my thanks to both the college and the provincial government.”
Government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint in April 2014 to align education and training with in-demand jobs in B.C. so that British Columbians have the skills and training they need to take advantage of the diverse, strong and growing economy.
According to the British Columbia 2025 Labour Market Outlook, the province is expecting almost one million job openings by 2025 and eight of out ten of these jobs will require post-secondary education or training.
Okanagan College offers a wide range of trades career opportunities, including carpenter, plumber, auto service technician, sheet metal fabricator, welder, electrician, aircraft maintenance engineer, heavy duty mechanic technician, professional cook and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:
BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
Okanagan College: http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/
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