Reported by Lisa Tanh
The provincial government is taking B.C.’s technology and trades students into the future with funding for new equipment.
Today, Premier John Horgan and Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training, announced during a visit to Northwest Community College that the provincial government has invested more than $5.4 million in industry-standard training equipment to give students the “skills they need to succeed.”
The funding has allowed 15 public post-secondary institutions to replace aging equipment of their choosing with the latest technology in order to respond with changes in technology and trades industries.
Mark said students need to be trained on the same equipment that they will be using in their future jobs.
“Our investment will help students succeed and thrive in a variety of jobs in different sectors, from carpentry to computing, through to automotive and web design,” she said in a news release.
Northwest Community College’s communications director Sarah Zimmerman said the the college allocated their funds to the automotive service technician, carpentry and professional cook programs, even going so far as to purchase a Toyota Prius so the student’s could work on a modern vehicle.
“It’s really important at the college level that we’re training all of our students with the latest technology,” Zimmerman said. “We want to make sure that we prepare students the best way we can for the challenge that they’re going to face in their career.”
Ryan Lockhart, a plumbing graduate who attended BCIT and Pacific Vocational College, said that the funding is good for trades programs, but it’s not enough.
“I would like to see [more funding] go towards after-class teaching,” Lockhart said. “Almost like a tutor … a class where you can go and have a teacher that can help you understand certain parts of the material that you’re stuck on.”
The provincial government has promised an additional 2,900 tech spaces by 2023, which is supported by the funding for new equipment.