New OC trades building

A massive investment is being made at Okanagan College in Vernon.

The Kalamalka campus will be getting a new trades training centre.

Currently, trades training is done in a leased space at the Vernon airport, but the federal and provincial governments are providing $6.21 million in funding for a new 1,250-square-metre (13,450-square-foot) Trades Training Centre tol be built on campus.

The facility will also address a shortage of available trades training shops in the region.

The new building will include multipurpose trades shops and supporting space, a dedicated welding shop and multi-use trade space for the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as Aboriginal and women-in-trades training programs.

Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College president, said “it's good news because we will have a purpose-built trades training facility here on the campus.”

Hamilton said it will make a big difference for students taking trades courses.

“Students who are off site don't have immediate access to all of the other services that students on campus have – the library, the cafeteria, the gym, social events and all those sorts of things,” said Hamilton.

For electrical student Harrison Coe being able to learn a trade on campus means a lot for accessibility.

“Right now, we are at the Vernon airport and we sort of create our own little autonomous world, but it will be really nice to have some community feeling of the campus.”

Funding for this project includes:

  • $2.66 million from the Government of Canada
  • $2.88 million from the Province of British Columbia
  •  $670,000 from Okanagan College

Construction is expected to get underway shortly with completion by spring 2018. The new building will be built to LEED Gold certification and construction is expected to create 25 direct and 13 indirect jobs for the region.

Nearly one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next decade, and eight out of 10 of these openings will require post-secondary education, according to an official release.

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