The Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment at Okanagan College is a prime example of that vision in action.

The funding will support the construction of a new 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square-foot) Trades Training Centre, which will address a shortage of available trades training shops in the region by providing a purpose-built space at the Okanagan College Vernon campus.

The new building will include multipurpose trades shops and supporting space, a dedicated welding shop and multi-use trade space for the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as Aboriginal and Women in Trades Training programs.

proxy-2The new Trades Training Centre in Vernon will provide on-campus training capacity for approximately 150 trades students, compared to the existing off-site leased trades facility that supports approximately 108 students per year.

Federal-provincial funding for this project includes:

  • $2.66 million from the Government of Canada; and
  • $2.88 million from the Province of British Columbia.

Okanagan College will contribute $670,000 to the project.

The funding from the Government of Canada is being allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

proxy-3Construction is expected to get underway shortly with completion by spring 2018. The new building will be built to LEED Gold certification and construction is expected to create 25 direct and 13 indirect jobs for the region.

With four campuses throughout B.C., Okanagan College enrols over 20,000 students annually and offers a wide range of programs including trades training, technical certifications, university transfer courses, diploma and degree programs.

Nearly one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next decade, and 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.

On that the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development  has said that  .“This once-in-a-generation investment by the Government of Canada is a historic down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up companies into global successes. This investment will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”

Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education  said  that  “Our investment in new buildings at public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. will ensure that students are learning and training in modern spaces. The new trades training centre at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College will offer a permanent home for trades programs and support a growing demand for trades training in the region.”

Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA stated that “A career in the trades can lead to a rewarding future full of opportunity. The new trades training centre at Okanagan College will support students in Vernon by creating additional space and programs that will make sure that British Columbians are first in line for jobs.”

Jim Hamilton, president, Okanagan College  said “This investment in the future of trades training in Vernon will create meaningful opportunities for the people of this region for decades to come. This new space will allow us to offer a wider range of programs for students, as well as increase our capacity to train more individuals who will be job-ready to meet the needs of local employers.”

Harrison Coe, electrical student, Okanagan College  said “Tradespeople play such an important role in our society and today’s announcement highlights that value. As a student, who has been training in a facility off campus, I think it will be hugely beneficial to future students to have the opportunity to take their training in a brand new purpose-built facility on campus. I think they will take even greater pride in where they are and what they are doing.”