The B.C. government is investing more money in skills training at Okanagan College.
Following a series of announcements of funding for trades training at the college, including $28 million to refurbish and expand its existing trades training facilities, Victoria said Wednesday it will provide $867,0000 worth of equipment for OC.
The funding is part of a $17-million province-wide Skills and Training Plan investment to support public post-secondary institutions to upgrade equipment and put the latest tools in the hands of B.C. students.
Equipment purchases and replacements at each institution are based upon a review and analysis of existing inventory, current and future program and industry requirements, and current government priorities to provide skills training that is aligned to the needs of the economy in each region.
“It’s important that students have access to the latest equipment necessary to get the fullest benefit from their studies,” said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. “I’m very glad to see over $867,000 invested by the province, ensuring that
students at Okanagan College have access to the required equipment to complete their training.”
Institutions will also pursue partnerships with local industries and other stakeholders to purchase or donate equipment, ensuring students continue to train on the latest equipment being used in the workplace.
The type of equipment slated for new purchase or replacement at Okanagan College – unless otherwise donated from industry partners – includes equipment such as an air brake trainer for the heavy-duty equipment technician program, a metal shear for the welding program, carpentry machinery, and shop pieces for the automotive service technician garage.
“This provincial investment, coupled with contributions from private industry partners, will ensure students are training on the same calibre of equipment their employers will be asking them to work on after graduation,” said Kelonwa-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.
The B.C. government recently announced $342,872 for foundation skills seats at Okanagan College campuses. In September, Victoria announced the $28million grant to renewal of the trades training complex at the Kelowna campus. In August, the $570,000 in capital funding was announced to go towards improving and upgrading facilities at Okanagan College. Okanagan College received more than $550,000 in one-time funding in April to offer skilled trades-related training in the region.
The college expects to create 110 seats over the coming year, including training in mining, oil and gas related supervision and safety, and green building design, among others.
“Continued investment in equipment is vital to ensuring that Okanagan College students and apprentices are afforded the best quality training. said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “They need to be prepared for the workplace with knowledge and experience of the latest technology.”