The College of New Caledonia received a big financial boost Monday morning.
Prince George-Valemount MLA, Shirley Bond and Prince George-Mackenzie MLA, Mike Morris were on hand at the Heavy Duty Mechanical building to announce $1.2 million in funding for trades equipment.
Bond says the funds are crucial to the northern region of the province, responsible for a great deal of the work being done in the resource sector. “These kinds of professions are in demand, so it’s essential that the funding be in institutions like the one here at the College of New Caledonia,” she said. “It means that students can train with great instructors and great equipment right here and do it closer to home.”
The money will go towards purchasing new equipment for the metal fabrication, heavy duty-mechanical trades, industrial mechanics, power engineering, and electrical programs. One of the more coveted pieces of equipment included a hydrostatic transmission trainer for the heavy duty mechanical trades program.
The College Of New Caledonia has already received $3.1 million in trades funding for high-demand equipment as part of the 2014 BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint. Morris says the funding is important considering one million job openings are expected in B.C. by 2025 and 80 per cent of those jobs will require a post-secondary education. He adds two thirds of jobs opening up are due to retirement. “A third of those jobs will be new opportunities within the resource sector and of course that’s going to transcend down into the support services and supply sector as well.”
It’s especially impactful to the students who will benefit from using higher-end equipment to ensure they are skilled and ready to work in the labour force. Fourth year heavy duty trade student, Troy Scott, says it will have an immediate impact. “I believe it’s the City of Prince George which has an ad in the paper right now for a mechanic and one of the first criteria they’re looking for is electronic troubleshooting,” he said. “This equipment allows some of these students to get some of the electronic troubleshooting they need.”
The funding announced is part of the the Blueprint commitment to invest $185 million in new trades training and equipment across the province.