An additional 40 engineering diploma and certificate seats at Vancouver Island University will give more students access to the technical skills needed for good-paying jobs in the booming tech industry.

“There hasn’t been any significant investment in tech programming for more than a decade,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Adding more tech spaces at Vancouver Island University is part of our provincial tech-expansion plan that’s adding thousands more spaces to give students the skills to succeed, and ensuring that the tech sector is supported with homegrown talent.”

Funding of $100,000 will allow Vancouver Island University to develop and implement additional student spaces in the university’s fundamentals of engineering certificate, and a new engineering design and practice diploma program.

“B.C.’s tech sector is growing exponentially, and companies in every corner of the province need skilled workers,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “These additional seats at Vancouver Island University’s engineering programs will help local companies find the talent they need to get their product to market and generate good-paying tech jobs.”

“This funding will enable us to train more of our tech talent locally, while helping to support the growth of tech industries on Vancouver Island,” said Leonard Krog, MLA for Nanaimo. “Our government’s startup funding to expand tech programming will allow Vancouver Island University to add 40 additional student spaces in two enhanced engineering programs.”

“To obtain good-paying, 21st-century jobs, people need access to affordable and relevant education,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “Funding two new engineering programs at Vancouver Island University will open the doors to opportunities in the tech sectors for more students on Vancouver Island.”

Spaces for the one-year certificate and the two-year diploma will become available in 2019-20 with 20 spaces, ramping up to 40 spaces in 2020-21. Once the spaces are fully implemented, funding is expected to increase to $400,000 annually.

“VIU would like to thank the provincial government for recognizing the importance of funding regional training that will prepare students for in-demand engineering occupations,” said Brian Dick, chair of VIU’s engineering, physics and astronomy. “This support will allow us to expand our program to offer students both first- and second-year training, and a choice of whether to continue on to further education, or move into employment in the local tech sector.”

The fundamentals of engineering certificate program contains the core, first-year courses in physics, chemistry, engineering design, computer programming, mathematics and communication. Upon successful completion, graduates are qualified to apply for second-year engineering at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and the University of Alberta.

The new, two-year diploma in engineering design and practice builds upon the certificate, targeting those students who wish to gain employment in the local tech sector, but may not want to continue immediately to a full engineering degree. The diploma provides these students with specific and practical employment skills, with emphasis on the design and fabrication processes.

“Adding an engineering transfer pathway to VIU helps fill an educational void, by allowing students to continue the engineering education they started at VIU, building on what they’ve learned in the first-year certificate,” said VIU engineering transfer student Allan Stenlund. “The second-year diploma allows them to work on more in-depth projects, giving them the opportunity to significantly amplify their capabilities, expanding the scope of their skills and expertise, and their opportunities.”

“The engineering expansion is great news for the mid-Island engineering community,” said Lee Rowley, principal, Herold Engineering. “Having more opportunity for more engineers and technologists to begin their training locally allows a more affordable start to their careers. It also gives local firms the chance to hire well-trained employees, who are familiar with the career opportunities and lifestyle Vancouver Island provides.”

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