Tech, aviation get boost

Alanna Kelly

An announcement from the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training will give the aviation and tech industries a boost.

A partnership between the Industry Training Authority, KF Aerospace, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and Okanagan College is allowing 14 more students to enrol in the college's aircraft maintenance engineering structures program.

"With a global and regional demand for people in the aerospace industry exceeding the supply of qualified apprentices, it is critical to find solutions to meet the needs of industry, while creating good-paying jobs for people," said Melanie Mark.

The ITA contributed $88,800, matched by KF, to cover instructional costs, and the AIAC has invested $20,000 to support the program with tools and equipment.

Mark said industry experts, post-secondary institutions and government are all speaking tech innovation.

"Last month, our government announced 2,900 additional tech seats and delivered on promises to make education more accessible and affordable," she said.

Mark also met with animation students at Okanagan College to discuss emerging possibilities in a robust tech market.

Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, said the fact that the government is adding tech seats is an encouraging sign.

"The tech sector moves very quickly and demands that entrepreneurs are nimble and flexible, so it helps that sectors are working together to produce the skilled tech workers we will need to keep growing,” said Gopal.

It's estimated there will be 83,400 job openings in tech-related fields in B.C. in the next decade – and 5,100 will be in the Thompson-Okanagan.

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