FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – New technology and trades equipment upgrades to 20 post-secondary institutions, including Northern Lights College, will help students get the hands-on skills and knowledge they need.

Leo Manning is the dean of trades and apprenticeships at NLC. He says the trades are a constantly evolving sector with newly developed technology quickly replacing the old tech.

“Being able to provide our students with the most up-to-date equipment not only improves their education but better prepares them for when they get into the working world. The ability to remove barriers to our students’ learning is key to providing a successful learning experience,” said Manning.

The Province announced Wednesday that it is investing $3 million towards trades programs. Each post-secondary institution is getting up to $150,000 to replace obsolete equipment and bring technology up to date in trades and technology programs.

“Investing in students is an important part of building a stronger B.C.,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Northern Lights College campuses in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek will get funding for the following programs:

“Students across the province will have the opportunity to learn the latest techniques with state-of-the-art technology and equipment, preparing them for their future careers,” said Kang.

“To prepare for tomorrow’s workforce, students need access to the best equipment available today,” said Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training.

“Hands-on training helps students build the skills employers need and sets them up for success on the job from Day 1.”

According to data from the 2019 Labour Market Outlook, over 75,000 tech-related jobs, such as computer programmers, engineers and software developers, are expected to be created between 2021 and 2029.

In the trades, it’s estimated that 73,000 jobs like carpentry, millwrighting, construction and heavy machinery, will be created in the same time period.

In addition to the new funding for replacing old tech, the Province is funding more than 2,600 student spaces in tech programs across B.C.

November is Apprenticeship Recognition Month in British Columbia. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, as well as the Industry Training Authority, will highlight the roles apprentices play in building British Columbia.

They will also identify opportunities for people to start a career in a skilled trade.