Investment creates 3,000 tech-learning spaces in B.C.

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More students will have access to in-demand programs as 3,000 more technology-relevant spaces become available in the public post-secondary education system.

Spaces will include a range of areas, including cybersecurity, software engineering, data science, life sciences, creative tech, clean tech and agritech.

The new student spaces are possible through a provincial three-year investment of $74.7 million. The spaces and supporting investment are included in the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, which is working to accelerate talent development and skills training to address workforce challenges across all sectors and throughout B.C.

“We’re facing an enormous challenge – our economy is changing, workplaces are transforming, and we have more job openings in growing and in-demand fields than we have the skilled workers ready to fill them,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “People with technological skills and knowledge are in high demand within nearly every sector – from agriculture to manufacturing. That’s why we are excited to add 3,000 more tech-relevant spaces for people to learn, grow and thrive in these in-demand jobs.”

Over the next decade, B.C. needs a large and diverse pool of people with the technological skills and knowledge to fill the current and future job openings expected. Post-secondary education and skills training plays an invaluable role in closing the skills gap, supporting economic sustainability and growth in the province.

“The biggest challenge we are hearing from businesses is finding the skilled labour they need,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Through this investment, people will have better access to the technological education and skills training they need for rewarding careers, ensuring employers are able to find the world-class talent they need to grow and prosper in B.C.”

Some of the new technology-relevant spaces will be open to enrolment as soon as September 2023, with others to follow in subsequent years. Through the creation of these spaces, more students will have access to a wide range of responsive programming – from certificates and diplomas to degrees – giving people the flexibility to find a path that works for them and B.C. employers.

“Having had the opportunity to experience incredible hands-on learning at TRIUMF, I am excited that even more students will get work experience at innovative institutions in the tech space,” said Nicolas Fedrigo, a life sciences mechatronic engineering co-op student at TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre. “The invaluable learning experiences and supportive environment at TRIUMF have been instrumental in helping me discover career aspirations that I am truly passionate about.”

The StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan released May 2, 2023, is a cross-government plan that will help make education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant to help prepare the people of B.C. for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The action plan is supported by a provincial investment of $480 million over three years.

Quotes:

Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Workforce Development –

“By creating more opportunities for people to access post-secondary education and training, we’re creating more good-paying jobs today and developing the workforce of tomorrow. Increasing tech-relevant spaces in our educational system is great news for everyone in British Columbia.”

Jill Tipping, president and CEO, BC Technology Industry Association –

“BC Tech is thrilled to see the creation of 3,000 new tech-related spaces at B.C.’s post secondaries. Recruiting qualified talent continues to be the number 1 challenge facing B.C.’s tech companies and with demand in the coming decade increasing significantly, this announcement is a welcome investment. “

Dr. Nigel Smith, executive director and CEO, TRIUMF –

“As a major training and research facility in B.C., TRIUMF is pleased to see this announcement on the future of B.C.-trained early-career researchers and tech specialists. These new training spaces will help strengthen the benefit to British Columbia of having facilities like TRIUMF assist early-career researchers and tech startups.”

Dr. Gail Murphy, vice-president, Research and Innovation, University of British Columbia –

“UBC provides the right conditions and countless opportunities for learners to become leaders in B.C.’s thriving economy. I am pleased to see this investment to help meet the growing demand for technology talent in our province.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since 2017, the Province has been steadily expanding access to technology programming at public post-secondary institutions, including the creation of 2,900 new technology-relevant spaces between 2017 and 2023. 
  • In the next decade, it is estimated there will be more than 118,000 job openings in disciplines relating to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Learn More:

For more about StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/jobs-and-training

To read British Columbia’s most recent Labour Market Outlook, visit: https://www.workbc.ca/sites/default/files/2023-02/LMO-2022-Report.pdf

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