KELOWNA- Government is investing $1,517,435 in new equipment to support local students training for occupations critical to the economy, as part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.

Okanagan College will use the funding to purchase welders, a vertical band saw, a compressor, and an electrical simulator.

“Okanagan College plays a critical role in training the skilled workers that B.C.’s employers are looking for,” says Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. “Hands-on learning is an important part of the curriculum, and this funding gives students access to the latest ‘tools of the trade.’”

“B.C. is reaching a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older workers leaving it,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “Ensuring B.C. workers have the skills to be first in line for those jobs is the key component of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.”

“Our government is investing $185 million over three years in new equipment and facilities to support students entering in-demand sectors including LNG, shipbuilding and construction,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “Earlier this year we announced more than $171,000 to purchase new tools and equipment at Okanagan College—and our investment of more than $1.9 million since 2014 has created 407 additional seats, helping to reduce wait lists.”

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint lays out a major shift to a data-driven system where training dollars and programs are targeted to jobs in demand. Funding and programs are evolving to meet labour market needs.

Quick facts:
• By 2022, there will be one million job openings in B.C. – more than 78% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education.
• Approximately 13% of the one million projected job openings to 2022 are for in-demand trade occupations in B.C.

To learn more about B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, visit www.workbc.ca/skills.