Every single student in the trades program at Camosun College said they were there for the employment opportunities available once they completed their courses.
J.R. Wells, in the heavy duty mechanics course, said he eventually wants to work up north. Rowen Heap said he wanted to work at the Mack dealer and eventually get to the mainland.
“A job can take you anywhere,” said Paul Osborne.
All of the students have been enrolled in the trades programs since September and each knows they have a long way to go, but they are excited about their futures.
On Thursday, Feb. 25, the ribbon was cut for the new 7,432-square-metre trades education centre. Ground was broken for the facility in March 2014 and the $30-million project came about with the help of the province, Camosun College, community donors and federal grants.
At the opening, Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson said the facility will provide more opportunities to train and there would be a big demand for those skills in British Columbia. Wilkinson estimated that there will be over 700,000 retirements in the next decade and skilled trades people will be needed.
“We have earmarked funds for programs like this and it leads to prosperity and employment,” said Wilkinson. “We really believe in this place.”
Included in the new facility are programs for the marine and metal trades including welding, sheet metal, metal fabrication, nautical and ship building and repair programs. The mechanical trades program will train students in heavy mechanical trades and automotive service technician.
Sara Wilson a fourth-year Red Seal graduate with the college’s sheet metal program said she wanted a mental and physical workout every day. She also wants to make money and the opportunities her education will give her for travelling anywhere across Canada.
“With a Red Seal, I can find work anywhere in Canada. Camosun’s new facilities look amazing. I think the huge influx of new top-of-the-line technologies will really set Camosun apart,” she said.
Camosun College has 20 different trades foundation and apprenticeship programs; and educates more than 2,700 skilled workers each year. The Centre of Trades Education and Innovation provides Camosun with room for an additional 370 full-time seats in the trades training program. The next part of their vision is to upgrade older trades buildings on the Interurban Campus.