Students, industry discuss technology training with government

With the technology hub in B.C. growing rapidly, students and industry leaders conveyed their skills training needs at a roundtable discussion with the Minister of Advanced Education and the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

“B.C. is gaining a competitive digital edge in the global marketplace and post-secondary education and skills training are vital to making that happen,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education. “We are here listening to the needs of students and industry ensuring British Columbians are getting the right training.”

Close to three-quarters of all future jobs in B.C. will need at least some post-secondary education. Professional, scientific and technical services are expected to continue to be among the most in-demand areas in the years to come. The technology sector is one of the fastest-growing areas of B.C.’s economy. This sector creates jobs for more than 84,000 people at more than 8,900 established companies. It also generates revenues of $18 billion per year and accounts for 10 per cent of B.C.’s exports at $4.1 billion.

“Students in B.C. have an opportunity to become leaders in the booming technology market,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. “It is discussions like these which allow us to find additional avenues for collaboration to address the need for skills training in the technology industry.”

The roundtable, hosted by Mitacs – a national research and training organization headquartered in B.C. – was an opportunity for government, industry and students to share their ideas, successes and challenges.

“In B.C., we are fortunate to have a highly-qualified pool of talent which is poised to have a significant impact on our technology industry,” said Dr. Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director of Mitacs. “Our challenge is to ensure that we create training and research opportunities to ensure that these young innovators can easily transition into the job market.”

“The professional development training offered by Mitacs Elevate provided me with the opportunity to develop vital career skills that I needed as a PhD graduate embarking on a career outside of academia for the first time,” said Sara Bavarian, post-doctoral fellow, Distribution Automation Engineer, Powertech Labs. “In fact, the workshops were instrumental in helping me land the job I’m at today.”

B.C.’s technology and innovation sector is broad and includes health sciences to information technology and wireless to digital media. It is one of eight key sectors identified in the BC Jobs Plan.