Against a backdrop of hydraulic training boards, Advance Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson announced close to $300,000 in funding Friday for new training equipment in trades and health programs at TRU.
With the $298,350 investment, TRU intends to buy equipment, such as vibration analysis instruments for millwright students, a walk-in freezer for culinary arts students and intravenous pumps for health-care students.
Keeping abreast of technological change in the trades is essential, said TRU president Alan Shaver.
“With today’s technology, you really need to be in your game as a technician,” said David Anderson, a heavy-duty mechanics student and level two apprentice with James Western Star.
“I’m 21 years old and living my dream as a heavy-duty mechanic,” said fellow apprentice Tian Taylor.
MLA Todd Stone noted that there is forecast demand for 150,000 workers in the Thompson-Okanagan region over the next decade. TRU is ideally positioned to fill that demand.
“This is the most comprehensive institution, not just in B.C., but in the entire country,” he noted.
Nearly one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next decade and eight out of 10 of those openings will require post-secondary education.
The Ministry of Advanced Education is targeting funding and programs to sectors that have a high-demand for skilled workers. The health care and social assistance sector is one of the largest sectors by employment in southeastern B.C. The 2024 Labour Market Outlook projects that over the next 10 years, skilled trades will be among the most in-demand jobs in the region.
With the money announced today, government has provided more than $2.4 million to TRU as part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, launched in 2014.