B.C. colleges preparing students for strong economy

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A surging economy and the lowest unemployment rate in Canada are giving post-secondary students something to celebrate on B.C. Colleges Day.

Many students enrolled at the 11 public colleges in British Columbia are choosing training that prepares them for jobs in high-demand areas including tech, trades, health care and early childhood education. The Government of B.C. is making significant investments in education and skills training in these sectors.

“Colleges are providing students with an accessible and affordable pathway to good-paying, family-supporting jobs throughout our province,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Students are being equipped with the education, skills and knowledge that are needed to build the best B.C. Our investments are opening doors that had been closed for too long. Thank you, B.C. colleges, for driving change and creating opportunities for students to live out their dreams close to home.”

Students from Camosun College joined Mark, alongside Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trades and Technology, and college presidents at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria to celebrate the third annual B.C. Colleges Day. A provincial proclamation recognizes the vital role that colleges have in the post-secondary ecosystem.

“We recognize the incredible potential for B.C. to be a global hub of technology and innovation,” said Ralston. “We’re investing in programs and scholarships at post-secondary institutions so people will get the skills they need to succeed and employers have access to the right talent.”

B.C. is home to 11 public colleges, with more than 60 campuses and learning centres throughout the province. B.C.’s colleges offer 250 academic, trades, technology and vocational programs to 150,000 students. Thousands more British Columbians take courses at colleges through continuing education.

“From artificial intelligence to advanced technology, disruptive changes are affecting every sector in every community,” said John Bowman, chair, BC Colleges. “B.C.’s colleges are working proactively to equip today’s learners with the skills and knowledge required by employers in tomorrow’s economy.”

“The education I received prepared me for a career in engineering and design,” said Jesse Gough, a recent graduate from Camosun College’s mechanical engineering technology program. “Thanks to the skills obtained at Camosun, I am able to work on leading-edge design and manufacturing, which is in high demand by local tech companies.”

Quick Facts:

  • The first B.C. Colleges Day took place in February 2017 to raise the profile of B.C. colleges to all levels of government and the public, and to promote key goals at each institution.
  • BC Colleges is an association that represents 10 post-secondary colleges in the province.
  • Investments in colleges include:
    • 340 additional tech seats, 182.5 full-time equivalent early childhood education seats in 2018 and 331 health-care assistant spaces;
    • tuition-free adult upgrading;
    • $2.2 million saved through the use of open textbooks;
    • 274 former youth in care at B.C. colleges benefiting from free tuition; and
    • elimination of interest on B.C. student loans.
  • Approximately 900,000 job openings are expected in the next 10 years due to a combination of retirement and economic growth. About eight out of 10 jobs will require some post-secondary education.

Learn More:

BC Colleges: http://www.bccolleges.ca