With technology and innovation firmly taking hold in the West Kootenay – Boundary it should come as no surprise that our local college should be sitting up to take notice and begin providing the necessary support for what is becoming a strong economic driver, for the province and the region.
With the help of $100,000 from the Provincial Government, Selkirk College is developing two new programs aimed at providing opportunities in the expanding and evolving local tech sector.
In an effort to provide for the growing need for technology professionals the contribution from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training will allow the College to develop a program for aspiring web developers as well as a program for those interested in digital design and fabrication.
These skills are in increasing demand and to offer the education and training locally allows students to graduate with the necessary knowledge and skills to access the market here at home as well, either in existing industry and business or as entrepreneurs.
“Manufacturing is the fourth largest industry in British Columbia and with new technology, it’s fast changing,” says Neil Coburn, Selkirk College’s Vice President of Education. “Our region currently lags behind in this sector of the economy and much of that has to do with the availability of relevant knowledge and skills. Both of these programs will help provide the right education to ensure we have the people who can fill what are typically high paying jobs or use their entrepreneurial savvy to build their own business.”
While both programs are currently in the planning stages, the funding from Victoria will enable the college to move forward with the next crucial steps.
“To obtain good-paying, 21st Century jobs, people need access to affordable and relevant education and training opportunities,” says Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “Funding two new tech programs at Selkirk College will open the doors to opportunities in the tech sectors for more students in our region.”
The proposed Web Application Development Program is a 10-month certificate program with the first intake expected September, 2017. The program will produce graduates with strong coding skills, a solid understanding of business practices, and the skills to communicate clearly and concisely about business technologies. Learners will emerge from the program with the ability to present, implement and maintain emerging web-based technologies in ways that help organizations meet the demands of the ever-changing technical landscape.
The Digital Fabrication & Design Program, a partnership with the MIDAS Fab Lab to develop and launch for September 2019, is a proposed two-year program with multiple delivery formats. The program will teach applied technical skills to prepare students for a wide variety of digital fabrication careers. With instruction delivered in modules, students will receive the full spectrum of digital fabrication implementations and opportunities such as digital design, 3D printing, CNC (computer numerical control) machining and emerging technologies like robotics.
“Selkirk College has been an active supporter of the MIDAS fabrication lab in Trail which is a provincial leader in this type of technology,” says Coburn, who started his career at Selkirk College as a mathematics and computer programming instructor. “Some of the brightest and most innovative businesses in the region are working with MIDAS and we are partnering closely with them to further develop this program.”