$7.44 million for trades

The B.C. government announced a $7.44-million investment in Okanagan College today for skills training in high-priority trades.

The investment, through the Industry Training Authority, promises to fund 2,667 seats through to March 31, 2017 at the college's newly renovated, $35-million trades training complex in Kelowna.

"By working with Okanagan College and all of our training providers throughout the province, we are making it possible for young British Columbians to get the skills they need for the jobs they want. The goal of B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is simple: We want local women and men to be first in line for jobs in our strong and diverse economy,” said Premier Christy Clark.

The province says high-priority trades include jobs like electrician, welder, cook, heavy mechanical group trades and carpenter.

The province says the funding is part of the ITA's annual allocation to B.C. post-secondary institutions and training providers to run various training programs throughout the province.

"Students have attended Okanagan College for trades and apprenticeship training for more than 50 years, and with the opening of the new trades complex, it is poised to deliver training for the next 50 and beyond,” said Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country.

The government invests more than $94 million annually in industry training through the ITA. The ITA leads and co-ordinates British Columbia's skilled trades system by working with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.

"There is growing interest in trade careers across the province and the investment announced today will ensure British Columbians have the opportunity to access training in high-priority trades so that they are equipped with the right skills to respond to the job opportunities to come,” said Gary Herman, ITA CEO.

ITA provides more than 100 apprenticeship training programs in B.C., including 50 Red Seal trades.

There are currently more than 39,000 registered apprentices in the industry training system, more than double the 14,676 apprentices registered when ITA was created in 2004.

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