The College of the Rockies is receiving a $350,000 investment to expand its industrial training program. The funding was presented by David Wilks, Kootenay Columbia MP, on behalf of Michelle Rempel, minister of state for Western Economic Diversification.
“This project allows the College of the Rockies to train skilled workers in a high demand sector in Western Canada so that we can continue to create jobs and economic growth,” noted Wilks.
The funding, which comes through the Western Diversification Program, will allow the college to purchase software that will convert haul-truck simulators to heavy equipment operator simulators. The simulators will then be able to train students for a variety of jobs in heavy equipment operation, such as bulldozers, graders and excavators.
David Walls, president of the college, said the investment by the government was a significant one for the college.
“The new training software will help us to build on our successful haul truck simulator training and to provide the same high level of instruction to help fill the need for heavy equipment operators,” Walls said. He added those operators include road building, forestry, mining and other heavy industries in the region.
The college also received funding through the program in 2013 to purchase the five trades training simulators. Two of the simulators are located in the Cranbrook campus, two are in Fernie and one is mobile so can move around to various communities in the Kootenays.
Between 2013 and 2020, the government expects 22,800 job openings in the Kootenay region.