Okanagan College trades students benefit from new equipment

Government funding of $160,000 used to purchase up-to-date tools gives students upper hand

The purchase of up-to-date equipment to the tune of $160,000 is already benefitting the trades students of Okanagan College.

“A world-class learning environment at Okanagan College is helping build the skills of our students,” Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton said. “This new equipment is one way we’ll be able to continue to provide that excellence in education.”

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Trades and technology workers are in high demand as the B.C. Labour Market Outlook predicts about 82,300 tech-related jobs and 71,000 trades jobs will require filling over the next 10 years.

“Student success is the key ingredient to creating, building and maintaining the best B.C.,” Minister of Advanced Education Melanie Mark said. “Our strong economy and the technology driving it are rapidly evolving. Investing in students, skills and state-of-the-art training equipment at our province’s post-secondary institutions is a win-win.”

The province divided a total of $3 million among 19 schools across British Columbia in the fall of 2018 to purchase the new equipment, which includes hardware and class sets for the network and telecommunications engineering technologies program and a blast chiller for the culinary arts program.

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In 2017, the province divvied $5.4 million between 15 post-secondary institutions for equipment upgrades.

“The experience trades students get in their classrooms, labs and kitchens is so important for successful careers,” said Shelley Gray, CEO of Industry Training Authority. “When students have access to the most up-to-date equipment, it’s really building skills that employers need and that will allow them to excel in their future careers.”

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