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Spots open in trades training at Vancouver Island University

In order to accommodate the burgeoning liquefied natural gas industry, the B.C. government has committed $837,000 to Vancouver Island University’s trades programs.

From that, $727,000 will go toward 132 new trades training spots – 80 welder and 36 electrician for pre-employment course seats and 16 heavy-duty equipment mechanic apprenticeship seats. The remaining $110,000 is earmarked for operating and training equipment funding.

Dan Hurley, university spokesman, said the money will help address the student wait-list for some of the high-demand occupation trades.

“It depends on the program but my understanding is that in the electrician program, that will help cut it down by 12 months, so that’s a big deal for a lot of students who are looking to get into the industry right away,” said Hurley.

According to the provincial government, one million jobs will be available in the province by 2022. Trades offered by the university, including electricians, carpenters, heavy-duty equipment operators and welders, are among the 12 most in-demand liquefied natural gas trade jobs based on current labour market numbers.

B.C. Advance Education Minister Amrik Virk said 80 per cent of the jobs will require some form of post-secondary education and the skills aren’t just beneficial to liquefied natural gas industry.

“These jobs are the Top 12 jobs that are aligned with our liquefied natural [gas] job strategy. However, I must point out these are transferable to any other demand,” Virk said at a funding announcement at the university Thursday.

“This is training that’s equally as appropriate to LNG as it is to mining, as it is to forestry, as it is to pulp and paper, as it is to the truck loggers’ association ... it’s applicable, it’s cross-functional, it’s good for every industry, it’s good for Vancouver Island,” he said.

The money the Nanaimo university will receive is part of $6.8 million that the provincial government is granting to 14 public post-secondary institutions across B.C. for the creation of 1,424 new training seats.

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