KAMLOOPS — Today marked a momentous day for Thompson Rivers University, with the announcement of a new $30 million Industrial Training and Technology Centre, slated to open in 2018.
The majority of the centre will be funded by the provincial and federal governments, the province kicking in just over $7-million for the building, and the federal government contributing 12.25 million.
The remainder will be raised by TRU, including a significant portion from Western Economic Diversification Canada. The new Trades and Technology Centre will offer more space, and high-end training for students.
WATCH: Full report by Tanya Cronin
It's a rapidly growing industry, one that's demanding more workers to keep up with planned projects and retirements. And come 2018, Thompson Rivers University will be the place to get quality trades training.
"The new centre will increase the school's trades capacity by 33% making room for more students and producing more graduates every year," says Todd Stone, BC Transportation and Infrastructure Minister.
TRU will be home to a $30 million Industrial Training and Technology Centre, a joint investment by the provincial and federal governments, the university and donors.
"For me as a TRU faculty member this is particularly special, I know you've been waiting a long time," says Terry Lake, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.
"Many trades students will now be able to start at the foundation level at TRU and ladder into specialized areas such as power engineering and refrigeration and air conditioning," says Alan Shaver, President of TRU.
More than 1500 students attend construction trades, mechanical trades, industrial electrician and industrial instrumentation technology programs at TRU. The new centre will provide 550 additional student spaces, and programs that don't currently exist in the Interior.
"What the new building will house is instrumentation technician which is a red seal trade, it's an academic trade, your math and physics you have to have that as a background to do well in it and carry on in it, outside the lower mainland with BCIT, this will be the only program in the province," says Lindsay Langill, Dean of TRU School of Trades and Technology.
The renovated space in the School of Trades and Technology building will combine trades and science programs, to provide an architectural and engineering-technology program, giving students a sense of what lies ahead after graduation.
"It makes a lot of sense to have the complimentary diciplines working together becuase that's what happens in the field, so to give students a more real life component of what the world is like when you're building buildings," says Tom Dickinson, TRU Dean of Science.
"It allows us to continue on and finish our 3rd and 4th years of our journeyman training here at home, for me personally that's a big thing because it allows me to stay at home and focus on my studies and not have to worry about finding affordable housing," says Kevin Kneale, TRU Trades Student, Instrumentation and Foundation Program.
Construction is expected to begin early next year, and the new building ready for operation by fall of 2018.
"Trades is not going away, trades is a good decision to make and once you're finished your red seal in an average of 4 or 5 years, you've got a skill set that can't be taken away from you," says Langill.
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