$10 Million College of the Rockies Trades Training Facility Announced

Great news for trades and trades students throughout the Kootenays! Well-paying and middle class jobs get a welcome boost with the investment by the federal and provincial governments, investing $8 million to help create a new $10 million trades training facility at Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies.

The joint federal-provincial investment was announced earlier this week by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett on behalf of B.C. Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson.

The funding will support the construction of a new trades-training facility to consolidate and increase capacity by 43 new full-time equivalent spaces for a total of 325 full-time equivalent spaces for electrical, millwright and heavy-duty equipment technician programs.

The new trades-training facility will be 1,800 square-metres (19,400 square feet) with a 3,400 square metre (36,600 square foot) trades yard and an engine lab for the heavy-duty equipment mechanic and technician, and automotive-service technician programs. The new building will be designed to LEED Gold standard making it more energy efficient.

The $10-million investment is coming from: $4.2 million from the Government of Canada; $3.8 million from the Province of B.C.; $1 million from the College of the Rockies; and $1 million from the Columbia Basin Trust.

Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO stated, “Through this partnership, students will be better able to achieve their career goals locally, while our region’s employers will have a greater opportunity to hire the skilled tradespeople they need. We’re pleased to support this project that will help improve the Columbia Basin’s post-secondary options, develop our workforce and strengthen our economy.”

The new building project at College of the Rockies is estimated to be completed in spring 2018. Approximately 35 direct and 21 indirect jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

“By investing in College of the Rockies, our government is investing in the success of B.C. students, families and communities. Trades careers are in high-demand and students in the Cranbrook community will be ready for these opportunities at home and throughout B.C.,” Bennett said.

“I would like to express my appreciation for the funding provided by the federal and provincial governments for this new trades building. The addition of this new facility will allow us to further expand our ability to provide trades’ training that helps our students to reach their goals, secure careers in high-demand fields and to serve the needs of our communities and industry partners,” stated David Walls, College of the Rockies president and CEO.

The Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make the country a global centre for innovation-one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment is a prime example of that vision in action, a joint government press release notes.

The funding from the Government of Canada is being allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said the investment is a “once-in-a-generation” one by the Government of Canada and “a historic down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up companies into global successes. This investment will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”

“Our government is investing in new and upgraded facilities that will give students cutting-edge learning environments to develop skills for future careers. The new trades building at the College of the Rockies will expand space in the electrical, millwright and heavy-duty equipment technician programs to put students first-in-line for the jobs of tomorrow,” Bennett said on behalf of Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education.