The Government of Canada is targeting “hot spots of innovation and growth in British Columbia,” including bio-tech and aerospace.
With over 200 companies, British Columbia has one of the largest aerospace clusters in Canada. However, the industry is facing labour shortages.
The Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada wants to see this figure grow further, and has earmarked $14.5 million in funding for two projects with the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
The investment includes $9.3 million through the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative as well as $5.2 million through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems Program.
The funding will be used to help BCIT establish new training programs in the aerospace and life sciences sectors. This investment is expected to create 160 new jobs and generate an additional $360 million in revenue in British Columbia by 2027, according to the government.
“The first step in building long-term prosperity is tackling short-term labour shortages,” stated Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada. “The projects being announced today will deliver the trained, talented employees our biomanufacturing and aerospace sectors need to innovate and grow.”
BCIT is going to create a National Biomanufacturing Training Centre. This facility will provide training, professional development and talent for biotech companies in BC.
“Establishing the Training Centre here in B.C. is part of our Stronger BC’s Future Ready commitment,” noted Brenda Bailey, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “It will help us address the current skills shortage, purposefully prepare for the future and boost B.C.’s businesses and competitiveness.”
The Regional Innovation Ecosystem Program aims to grow and nurture priority sectors across British Columbia, building an ecosystem that allows them to compete globally.
“British Columbia has long been recognized as a leader in biosciences and today marks another important milestone in creating a home for biomanufacturing workforce development and offering a portfolio of programs to support the growth of this sector,” stated Paul McCullough, Interim President of BCIT.
The big moves build on other recent developments from BCIT, including the Teck Copper Innovation Hub and the Tech Collider, a multi-purpose learning centre and collaboration space that aims to connect students with industry to solve real-world challenges.
“The new Teck Copper Innovation Hub will explore innovative new ways to use antimicrobial copper to enhance safety for patients and health care professionals and we applaud BCIT for advancing this important work,” Jonathan Price, CEO of Teck, said earlier this year.
“The BCIT Tech Collider will help produce highly skilled and well-rounded graduates who can quickly advance in the tech sector,” believes Bailey. “Exposure to leading-edge tech, high-level entrepreneurs, and industry professionals will position graduates for success.”