KELOWNA– The provincial government has provided Okanagan College with $766,560 for 152 critical trades seats to reduce wait times for students entering an in-demand trade profession.

The funding will go towards the following programs:
Welding: 16 Foundation seats
Carpentry: 32 Foundation seats
Electrical: 36 Foundation seats
Heavy Mechanical Trades: 18 Foundation seats
Professional Cook: 18 Level 1 seats
Welding: 32 Level B seats

“There are one million jobs opening up in B.C. by 2022, and 44 per cent of those will be in the trades alone – that’s more than four times the total population of Kelowna,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “More trades training seats at Okanagan College means more students getting the skills to be first in line for those jobs here at home.”

“Okanagan College is an exceptional facility, and these additional seats will help train even more local students,” says Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. “In making more critical trades seats available, we’re helping to meet the needs of industry and create good, family-supporting jobs in our community.”

“This investment gives students more access to skilled training opportunities and the jobs of tomorrow,” says Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “With 152 additional seats opening up, students in the Okanagan are ever closer to the bright future that awaits them.”

This support is part of a $6.1 million initiative to fund 1,429 additional critical trade seats this year in 14 public post-secondary institutions throughout the province and supports B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.

Foundation training programs provide students with the basic knowledge and skills needed for entry into a particular occupation. Students receive credit for the first level of apprenticeship training in a specific field by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) upon successful completion.

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint outlines how the provincial government is re-engineering the education system – from kindergarten through to post-secondary training and beyond – to make sure education and training aligns with B.C. jobs.

B.C. expects one million job openings by 2022. More than 78% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 44% of jobs will be in skilled trades and technical occupations. Approximately 12% of the one million projected job openings are for in-demand trade occupations in B.C.