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Construction of new trades complex on schedule

KELOWNA — It may soon be the province’s destination for trades training, and it’s right here in Kelowna. Okanagan College is providing a progress report of the construction of its new trades complex, saying the facility is on track to be complete in early 2016.

“We want our students to be studying in the latest of facilities with the latest kinds of technologies that they will encounter in the workplace, and we’re totally committed to sustainable construction,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

The trades complex is getting a massive face-lift: 50-year-old shops and classrooms are getting refitted, and a new three-storey building is being added.

The college’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship hopes the new complex will attract more trades students.

“Not only is the facility new, state-of-the-art, and leading edge, but once the word gets out to students and apprentices of the facilities we’re building, they’ll look to come to our facility to receive the training,” says Steve Moores.

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The B.C. government is footing the bulk of the costs, funding $28 of the $33 million. The Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson says the investment was made to address the projected shortage of trades workers.

“We’re looking at about a million job openings in the next seven years, and 130,000 of those will be in the skilled trades, so facilities like this are absolutely necessary to build out our training capacity,” says Wilkinson.

Construction is anticipated to finish next spring when the doors will opened to all 2,400 trades students.