COTR mines training gets huge funding boost

More than $1.1 million for training simulators in Kootenays

  • Mar. 8, 2013 7:00 a.m.

An investment of more than $1.1 million from the B.C. government and Columbia Basin Trust means students at the College of the Rockies training to work in the Kootenays’ thriving mining sector will have access to the latest mining truck haul simulators.

The funding announcement was made Wednesday, March 6, at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook.

“This is an important program as it addresses two needs: the need of Basin employers to find trained labour, and the need of Basin residents to be qualified for local jobs,” said Neil Muth, Columbia Basin Trust President and CEO. “Congratulations to the College of the Rockies for leading this initiative and helping to foster the economic well-being of our region.”

The B.C. government has invested $580,000 to support the program and the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has invested $560,000.  The college has been working closely with both partners and with industry to ensure they can put the latest tools in the hands of B.C. students.

“Our resource industries remain a key part of B.C.’s economy,” said Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.  “So it’s vital that the right trades training equipment is available to our post-secondary institutions to ensure students enter the labour market with the skills the sector needs.

“This funding will enable the college to continue their excellent work, training students for the mining industry’s needs today and in the future.”

The funding will help the college to buy simulators, plus a truck and trailer to transport the equipment between campuses to ensure that as many students as possible benefit from the new equipment.

In January, College of the Rockies received $443,842 for skills training equipment. The additional $580,000 brings the B.C. government Skills and Training plan investment to over $1 million in 2012/13.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding,” said Nick Rubidge, President and CEO, College of the Rockies. “This is good news for not only the College but for students looking to learn here in the Kootenays. The simulators will prepare our students for job opportunities across the province.”

The provincial government funding is part of $17 million announced last September for public post-secondary institutions around the province to upgrade skills training equipment. It aligns with BC Skills and Training Plan priorities to ensure that students get access to the right training tools and that skills training matches the needs of regional economies around the province.

A 2012 report by the Mining Industry Human Resources council in conjunction with the Mining Association of BC indicated that the top two mining sector in-demand occupations in the next 10 years will be heavy equipment operators and truck drivers. Their forecast indicates that of 11,330 workers needed in the B.C. mining industry, 6,370 will be needed in the Kootenays.