B.C. students and tech companies to benefit from tech-programming expansion

An additional 2,900 additional tech-related spaces at public post-secondary institutions will be open to students in Richmond and throughout B.C. thanks to a $4.4 million in startup funds this year, ramping up to $42 million by 2023.

"We're helping students in British Columbia by improving access to education with thousands more tech spaces that include degree, diploma and certificate programs," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

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The government hopes the investment will result in 1,000 additional grads per year by 2023, which, in turn, will help create more jobs.

 "An increase in skilled tech workers will also boost B.C.'s diverse manufacturing sector, helping to create more jobs and increase exports that drive our economy," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.

In addition, the decision will benefit B.C.’s tech sector, as accessing talent is one great barrier to growth for tech companies, according to the province.

"Our growth is largely dependent on access to a local, well-educated workforce," noted Edoardo De Martin, Microsoft Vancouver.

"Having the right people with the right skills is the number one thing all businesses look for when establishing themselves in a region, and with the projected growth of B.C.'s tech sector, investment in education will be the key to pushing that growth forward," said Laurie Schultz, president and CEO of ACL.

The 2,900 additional spaces are in new and expanded programs that include the following in the Lower Mainland:

-440 spaces in undergraduate and graduate-level sustainable-energy engineering degrees at Simon Fraser University (SFU) Surrey.

-624 spaces in computer science and biomedical and manufacturing engineering degrees at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver campus).

-300 spaces in information-technology diplomas in cybersecurity, tech arts and new media at British Columbia Institute of Technology.

-40 spaces in a mechatronics and advanced manufacturing-technology diploma at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

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