Heavy duty boost for trades at COTR
Students at College of the Rockies (COTR) will benefit from $187,000 in funding toward the purchase of trades equipment, such as automatic truck transmissions for the heavy duty equipment technician program.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson during a visit to Pinnacle Hall in the Cranbrook campus of the college this morning (Sept. 16).
“Students at College of the Rockies will have the opportunity to develop hands-on experience on industry-standard tools and equipment that are being used at workplaces in their communities,” said Bennett. “Our government is putting students first in line for jobs in our diverse, strong and growing economy.”
The funding will go toward equipment for the automotive service technician, heavy duty equipment technician and piping trades programs, something that is much needed to meet the needs of the future, Bennett told a gathering of heavy duty mechanics students, instructors, college administration and media, noting in the next decade there will be almost one million job openings in the province, many stemming from retirements.
“There is no doubt that you are doing the right thing,” he told the students.
Eight out of 10 of these openings will require post-secondary education. In-demand occupations requiring post-secondary education or training range from professional to management to trades.
“We at College of the Rockies are proud of our excellent trades programs, which are designed to prepare students for real-world success in careers in our region,” said COTR president David Walls. “We appreciate the B.C. government’s continued support of trades training.”
COTR has received more than $1.4 million in equipment funding to support skills training since the launch of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, as well as more than $358,000 for an additional 112 trades training seats.
“In order for us to continue to play a vital role in preparing skilled workers to support the B.C. economy, it is critical that our students have access to and are trained on the most up-to-date equipment and technology possible,” said Jack Moes, dean of trades and technology at COTR. “This investment will help us to ensure that we can continue to provide that opportunity to our students.”
Instructor John White said the college has received a lot of support “in the past five to eight years in particular,” with the funds being applied to keeping the college up-to-date in terms of technology.
Government is investing $185 million in new trades training equipment and facilities through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to support students entering in-demand careers in the natural resource, industrial, marine, construction or hospitality sectors. The B.C. Labour Market Outlook 2025 estimates that there will be 5,440 job openings for automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers in B.C.
Lead image: COTR mechanics instructor John White, left, show MLA Bill Bennett one of two engine benches purchased with the funding.
– Ian Cobb/e-KNOW