The College of the Rockies has purchased some new training equipment after receiving some funding from the provincial government.
Announced by Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and Andrew Wilkinson, the Minister of Advanced Education, COTR has received $843,000 that will go towards two L3 mobile truck driving training simulators and health care training mannequins.
The money comes from annual year-end funding that colleges and universities within the province apply for as $4 million was up for grabs this year.
“Our government is giving students access to training equipment so that they have the skills that employers want,” said Wilkinson, in a press release. “More than $4 million in new trades and health care equipment is an investment which will prepare students for careers in a range of sectors that promote economic prosperity.”
According to David Walls, president and CEO of the College of the Rockies, an application for the equipment was made after surveying the various trades departments and prioritizing what the biggest needs were.
The L3 mobile truck driving units were identified by Karen Cathcart, manager of the Golden Campus, as a project that would help students transition into truck-driving jobs for a nearby mine.
“We’ve been building a planning culture over the last few years and now we have a list of capital equipment, so when we get these announcements saying that there’s some money, we already know what our priority items are and we have a good sense of what we can bring in, in a short period of time,” said Walls. “With these, it was more one of our campus managers who is working with a company up in the Golden area that’s wanting more drivers of the trucks, because they’re opening up a mine there and taking aggregate pretty much from B.C. across the border to Alberta.”
Out of 20 colleges and universities that applied for government funding, COTR received the most by far that breaks down to $721,000 for the L3 Mobile Truck Driving Training simulators and $122,000 for health training equipment.
“It’s great to see a small rural college do that well in a [funding] program like this. I’ve been working with the college since the time I got elected 15 years ago and it’s been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job,” said Bennett.
“The College has grown so much since it’s inception, of course, but over the last 15 years, with the new trades training centre and the other new buildings and the new entrance, what this is going to do for us is give us the state of the art equipment that our students need to have to learn the skills that they will have to have to be competitive and find the jobs that they want to have.”