New trades training equipment is coming to Okanagan College to better prepare students for the workplace when they leave the classroom.
The funding announcement of $160,000 for trades and technology equipment comes during Apprenticeship Recognition Week in British Columbia. This year, Apprenticeship Recognition Week is Nov. 4-10.
“Investing in equipment is an investment in our students and in our communities,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We’re working together to put 21st-century equipment in classrooms and shops to ensure trades students in the Okanagan and throughout the province are on the pathway to success and gaining the skills industry needs.”
An apprenticeship in the skilled trades is an important entry point to a long-lasting, good-paying career that will provide opportunities around the province. A key element of apprenticeship is on-the-job training. About 80 per cent is on the job, while 20 per cent is technical learning in the classroom.
“Classroom training lays the foundation for the lifelong learning journey of skilled tradespeople,” said Shelley Gray, interim CEO of the Industry Training Authority (ITA). “With this new funding, apprentices will enter the workforce confidently with relevant knowledge and skills from learning on current and new trades equipment and technology.”
The funding will be used to buy new and replace aging trades and technology equipment.
Examples of trades training equipment purchased by various post-secondary institutions last year include a used hybrid car for automotive programs, various types of saws for construction trades programs and equipment for culinary programs. Technology equipment purchased last year included iPads, 3D printers and new servers, as well as wind and solar energy training equipment.
“The newly opened Trades Training Centre at our Vernon campus is an example of our commitment to innovation and inclusivity in education,” said Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College president. “Up-to-date equipment is another way we can provide the most relevant and high-quality education to trades students at our campuses and help meet the demand for skilled tradespeople in the North Okanagan and beyond.”
The $160,000 for Okanagan College is part of an investment of $3 million in 2018-19 at 19 public post-secondary institutions in new trades and tech training equipment. The funding is allocated for this fiscal year, with the new equipment expected to be in place by April 2019.