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Trades complex breaks ground

A  ground breaking ceremony took place at Okanagan College Wednesday morning.

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk joined faculty, staff and students at Okanagan College to shovel the first pile of soil and officially start construction on the $33-million project.

"Throughout British Columbia we are improving access and aligning skills training and education to match labour market needs," said Virk. "We are investing in facilities like the Kelowna Trades Complex so that we can make sure British Columbians are first-in-line for the one million jobs openings we expect by 2022."

The expansion will give the college more than 5,500 square metres of new space that will be combined with recent renovations of more than 5,100 square metres of existing shop and classrooms space to create up-to-date facilities for trade shops including auto body, RV service technician, carpentry and welding.

The Ministry of Advanced Education says the project is the first of its kind in BC to transform a complex of its age, size and diversity into a modern learning space that is energy neutral.

Okanagan College notes that trades-related training at their Kelowna campus has more than doubled over the last 10 years and the renovation and renewal project will allow the college to meet current and future demands.

Once completed, the new trades complex promises to accommodate up to 2,408 students and apprentices, including students that are currently accommodated at off-site leased facilities.

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