Trades training programs at Thompson Rivers University are getting some new state-of-the-art equipment thanks to another cash infusion from the province.
On Friday, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake is expected to deliver the news that the Ministry of Advanced Education is pumping $1.39 million into TRU’s heavy-duty equipment training.
It’s the latest funding in a provincewide $17-million rollout for trades training as part of the government’s B.C. Jobs Plan.
“(The funding) provides skills training in the right place at the right time,” Advanced Education Minister John Yap told The Daily News.
“We look forward to institutions like TRU celebrating the delivery of the equipment that they’ll be ordering.”
Last May, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced $1.6 million to launch TRU’s new heavy-duty operator programs held in Kamloops and Williams Lake.
That funding, provided through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement, covered the cost of training the unemployed and non-EI eligible to become logging truck drivers and heavy-equipment operators in the civil and mining sector.
The new programs received a further $337,000 from Great West Equipment in Vernon in August.
“Access to training programs like the ones offered at TRU is the first step in helping meet the continued demand for skilled workers in priority industries like mining and forestry,” said Clark in May.
This week’s provincial funding will further outfit the new programs and help replenish out-of-date equipment in established ones.
Lindsay Langill, TRU’s dean of trades, said provincial funding allows trades schools to deliver training, not equipment, so the money is a “very nice addition” that will allow droves of students enjoy state-of-the-art classrooms.
“Currently we have a huge demand for heavy-duty mechanics, our classes are full, we have wait lists,” he said.
The announcement is getting a nod of approval from the NDP critic for advanced education. If anything, said Michelle Mungall, the province should be doing more of it.
“The NDP’s been calling on investment in skilled training for years and we’re finally starting to see it.”