A $3 million provincial investment into trades training at Northwest Community College was announced this morning along with the college’s new province-wide training role for the mining and exploration sector.
The money is part of a provincial promise this fall to invest $17 million into trades training across the province.
Today minister of advanced education John Yap announced the news at press conference held at the college where more than 100 students, college staff, elected officials and others gathered. The $3 million is earmarked for an upgrade to trades training equipment, he said, adding the college has also been picked to lead mining training in British Columbia.
“We’re talking about some really big ticket items,” said Yap about what equipment will be purchased, including a bulldozer, grader and diesel engine trainer for the heavy duty mechanics technician program, which was recently suspended due to outdated equipment among other reasons.
Programmable logic controls for the electrical program, metal lathes for the millwright program, as well as arc and welding simulator stations are also set to be purchased.
A ministry press release said equipment purchases and replacements per institution are based on a review of existing equipment balanced with the needs of future program and industry needs in various regions.
For mining, Yap bestowed the title of headquarters of the B.C. centre of excellence in training and mining upon NWCC.
“(It will) serve as a hub for other mining schools in B.C.,” he said.
“This is such a blessing for NWCC,” said Henning, who thanked college staff who worked to secure the funding.
She also honoured recently deceased former trades dean Margo Van der Touw for her work with NWCC’s school of mining and for helping secure trades monies for the school.
Previous money for trades includes $91,000 the college received from the Industry Training Authority for the now-suspended heavy duty mechanics program, which it spent in other trades areas.
It also received $839,000 from the province in the spring to spend on trades training and will be using that money on a program intended to introduce trades to high school students.