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Posted: August 23, 2017

Advanced Ed Minister delivers $109k for COTR trades training

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Educations, Skills and Training.

The provincial government yesterday announced it was providing $109,000 for 16 additional heavy duty mechanical trades seats at the College of the Rockies.

The funding, explained Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Educations, Skills and Training, is part of a new provincial government initiative in which it is supporting increased access to trades training with 562 additional seats at 13 public post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia that offer foundation and apprenticeship programs, with $1.67 million being invested.

“It’s been inspiring for me to visit our public post-secondary institutions, and to meet and listen to the trades students that will be building our homes, roads, schools and businesses,” Mark said during a visit to College of the Rockies. “These students are future innovators. Our investment today in additional trades seats is an investment in the future of our province. Together, we are building a better B.C.”

COTR president and CAO David Walls said the funding will boost one of the college’s most popular programs.

“This funding allows another 16 individuals to receive training in one of our most in-demand trades programs. Those additional students will become skilled tradespeople who can help to meet the labour-market demands of our region,” he said.

A student who stands to benefit from such training is Tobacco Plains resident Destyni Basil.

Destyni Basil

“Enrolling in the heavy mechanical program was the best decision I could have made,” said the heavy mechanical student. “It gave me the opportunity to start my career and to provide a better life for my daughter and for myself. It also allows me to be a positive role model and gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

“Labour-market demands are changing and investments like today’s announcement are integral in ensuring that British Columbians are equipped with the right skills for the job opportunities of today and tomorrow,” said Gary Herman, CEO of the Industry Training Authority. “Our apprentices are the future of skilled trades in this province and we’re thankful for the additional funding the government is investing in the growth of our trades industry.”

Trades needed by B.C. industries include, millwrights, heavy duty mechanics and carpenters. Students completing their education and training in these trades and many others can expect to find rewarding careers and job opportunities throughout B.C.

There is high demand in many trades occupations in British Columbia due to retirements and economic development, noted Minister Mark who holds the distinction of being the first First Nations woman to serve in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. She is MLA for the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant riding.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka was on hand for yesterday’s announcement. With construction of a new trades training building ongoing in the background, funded by the former Liberal government, he noted he is pleased to see the new NDP government continuing with collaboration with College of the Rockies.

“It’s great to see the government continuing on with programs that are in place. The last government put together a really great jobs creation program, a great skills training program, we invested in infrastructure for the new training building and we have got a change in government, yet, we’ve got a continuation – a harmony between. It’s seamless and it’s what it is meant to be, really. Our most valuable asset is education and this is a great example of how governments can work together, and industries,” he told e-KNOW.

Lead image: From left to right – COTR Dean of Trades and Technology Jack Moes, COTR president and CEO David Walls, heavy duty mechanics student Destyni Basil, Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Educations, Skills and Training and Gary Herman, CEO of the Industry Training Authority at the August 22 announcement in Pinnacle Hall at College of the Rockies. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photos

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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