This week, I was pleased to be part of a major announcement by the B.C. government regarding a trades renewal project at Camosun College. Specifically, $29.2 million will be spent on enhancing and replacing the trades complex at the college's Interurban Campus.
Why is this important?
The impact of initiatives such as this reaches far beyond the college and includes our community, the economy and the province.
The replacement of a lagging 40-year-old trades facility will provide us the opportunity to deliver high quality training in state-of the-art spaces. This, in turn, supports our obligation to focus on relevance and innovation.
We must deliver advanced skills training that addresses the needs of industry and provides access to the latest cutting edge equipment and technology. Graduates will be job-ready and hit the ground running.
That's why this announcement is so incredibly significant and timely. Trades careers are a solid choice for B.C.'s workforce and we must be responsive to new and growing opportunities before us - shipbuilding, aerospace, natural resources and renewable energy, to name a few.
Data suggest that demand for skills training will exceed supply; shipbuilding labour demand is projected to increase by 47 per cent over the next four years and by 62 per cent by 2020, adding nearly 5,000 new jobs to the B.C. economy. Green jobs will grow by 20,000, representing a 75 per cent increase.
Camosun will be there to do its part in training a dynamic and capable workforce while providing accessibility and affordability to our learners.
We are the most comprehensive and largest provider of trades training on Vancouver Island and the second largest provider of trades training in B.C. More than 2,500 students a year in 20 different trades from foundation and apprenticeship programs complete their training.
We are focused on developing further links between trades and applied research, and meeting the needs of small and mediumsized businesses. And we will continue to initiate innovative community partnerships.
The development of a new centre of excellence in trades training will put Camosun prominently on the B.C. stage.
We help build the workforce - ultimately, it's all about jobs. Skilled graduates will connect with industry and significantly contribute to increased levels of productivity and efficiency.
A highly trained and skilled workforce constitutes the foundation of our economy, keeps communities strong and enhances B.C.'s prosperity.
That's a win-win for all.
Kathryn Laurin is president of Camosun College.
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