OC gets $100k for trades

Okanagan College students in the electrical trades programs will soon plug into a cutting edge new learning space thanks to a generous donation of $100,000 from Westwood Electric.

Westwood’s donation to the Okanagan College Foundation’s “Bright Horizons: Building for Skills” Campaign will support the Trades Training Complex, which is currently under construction at the Kelowna Campus.

The electrical controls lab in the new facility will feature state of the art equipment, technology, and workstations for students.

Westwood’s decision to support the campaign for the Trades Training Complex was based on the recognition that proper training is crucial for maintaining the overall health and growth of trades, both locally and beyond.

“Today's apprentices are tomorrow’s qualified journeypersons, supervisors and industry leaders. The best possible trades training will only further promote the apprentice’s future, opportunities for local business and ultimately the province of British Columbia,” said Jason McCormick, vice president and partner of Westwood Electric, which is celebrating 40 years in business.

“We see this as a very special opportunity to be a part of the campaign behind the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus,” said McCormick. “We are honoured be involved with what will be one of the largest, most comprehensive and environmentally sustainable trades training facilities in British Columbia.”

"This support from Westwood is exciting news for Okanagan College and especially so for our students enrolled in the Electrical Trades programs, which is one of our largest trades programs, having grown by over 80 students this year," said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. "The Trades Training Complex will provide students with a learning environment that reflects Okanagan College’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. We thank Westwood for their generous investment in our students and in our College’s mission to transform lives and communities."

Work on the $33M complex expansion and renovation has begun and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016.

The provincial government has committed $28M to the project and the Okanagan College Foundation is responsible for raising an additional $7M, $5M for capital costs and the remaining $2M going towards student and program support.

Okanagan College embarked on the expansion to be pro-active in anticipating and meeting industry needs at a time when there is a looming shortage of trades workers.

“We are excited to watch this new facility take shape and look forward to the many benefits it will provide to the apprentices and businesses in our region,” said McCormick.

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