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Kelowna  

$35M trades complex opens

The new $35-million Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College was officially opened Thursday morning in Kelowna.

Premier Christy Clark and Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson toured the complex before cutting the ribbon in front of a few hundred interested onlookers and students.

The province contributed $28 million towards the project, which took four years to complete.

The college is in the process of fundraising the other $7 million.

The trade centre can accommodate about 2,700 students a year. However, college president Jim Hamilton said that number can be increased by adding shifts if demand warrants it.

"I'm anticipating double shifting," said Clark.

"We're the strongest economy in the country by a long shot. I'm assuming we're going to have to double shift at some point, which is a good problem to have.

About 2,400 students will graduate through the trade centre each year.

"There will be a million new job openings in B.C., and 800,000 of those jobs are going to be in the trades. Eight out of 10," said Clark.

"That's why investments like the one we've made here at OC really matter so much. We have to make sure everybody has the chance to take advantage of those jobs."



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