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UNBC and CNC will receive funding from the BC government to expand their engineering degree and technologist programs respectively.

UNBC will receive $400,000 of startup funding for new civil and environmental engineering degree programs.

This will help support 280 spaces by 2022-23, with 70 graduates per year expected by 2023.

UNBC Provost and Vice-President, Academic Dan Ryan sees this as an opportunity to bring students to the north and keep them here.

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“When students go through their four-year degree as an engineer, often they create work contacts and colleagues and if they create that network somewhere else, they’re less likely to come back here,” he explains.

“So by creating that network in the north, I think it creates a greater opportunity for them to see their future in the north.”

As for CNC, $250,000 will be funded for the school to develop a new civil-engineering technologist program.

This will support 50 spaces by 2021-22 and is expected to produce 25 graduates per year by 2022.

CNC President Henry Reiser says the new program will help usher in the next generation of engineers.

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“Technology is everywhere and there’s a retiring cohort of engineers and technologists and these students will backfill those positions as we move forward.”

With 2200 new tech-related jobs expected to become available over the next few years, the funding will allow these post-secondary institutions an opportunity to fill the gap of available talent says Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralson, “The engineering and technology sector is booming. Companies are looking for people; this announcement will fuel economic growth in the north.”

Ralston provides an example of how a BC start-up company is using technology to solve an issue in a traditional resource-based industry.

“One company I like to talk about is a start-up in Victoria. What they invented using visualization technology is a virtual reality of the depiction of the ore body that a mining company is going to go as- they can better plan how to better extract the ore in a more efficient way – less draws and more ore – means you make more money and ultimately that leads to better productivity and more jobs.”

These funds come from an earlier announcement made by Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, Melanie Mark.

With files from Matt Fetinko/ My Prince George Now

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