With the demand for electricians projected to surge in Western Canada, a local electrical services contractor is helping Okanagan College power up a dynamic new classroom space.
Keldon Electric and Data Ltd. has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons fundraising campaign for the Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus. The donation will assist the College in constructing and outfitting a classroom geared towards training electricians and other skilled tradespeople.
“Keldon Electric and Data Ltd. feel privileged to support a facility where the majority of our workers are trained,” says Keldon Electric President Brian Yamaoka. “The College is a proven training facility that continually puts out skilled workers.”
Elevating the learning environment is part of the College’s thrust to continue to advance trades training in B.C., says Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores.
“New technologies and techniques are always emerging and so we adapt the training to reflect changes across the sector,” says Moores. “From top to bottom, the vision behind the new complex is to elevate trades training and provide students with learning environments that prepare them for the jobsites of tomorrow.”
Keldon Electric’s support of the project is timely. Last year, the Provincial Government released a report highlighting electrical trades as one of the key fields in the sector—along with heavy equipment operators and heavy duty equipment mechanics—that will require new skilled workers over the next seven years.
“With baby boomer retirements looming, it is anticipated there will be continued demand for electricians, and so we are excited to have a top-of-the-line new facility to train the next wave of skilled workers needed in the province,” adds Moores.
The College launched the Electrician program in 2006, which is now one of the fastest growing trades programs in the province. In the last five years alone, the College has graduated 2273 full-time equivalent foundation (pre-apprentice) and Red Seal apprentice electricians.
General Manager Jarret Yamaoka says having electrical trades training available locally has and will continue to help Keldon Electric attract new talent.
“We pride ourselves in having an above average workforce, and recognize that having a new state-of-the-art facility can only help in drawing outside talent to this region.”
Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler notes that donors in the community are playing a critical role in helping the Foundation raise the funds necessary to top up the Provincial Government’s $28-million commitment for the $33-million project.
“We are so grateful to Keldon Electric and all of the donors who have stepped forward to support the Bright Horizons campaign,” says Butler. “The investments being made in our students’ futures by industry and by individuals in the community are timely and are going to have an immense impact.”
The Foundation is aiming to raise $7 million, including $5 million for capital construction costs and $2 million for program and student support.
Overall, the new complex and upgrades to existing shops and classrooms represent a 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion. The College has set the goal of meeting LEED Platinum standards and achieving net zero energy usage for the project.
More information about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to support students is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.