British Columbia’s tech sector generates more than $29 billion in revenue, is home to over 10,200 businesses, and supports upwards of 106,000 well-paying jobs. Those numbers are only growing.
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is that the demand for jobs will outstrip B.C.’s ability to supply them. Skilled workers are already highly sought-after, and many companies look overseas to find specialists able to meet their industry requirements.
The ability to provide local talent for the tech sector is something that the provincial government has made it a priority to address. Engaging public colleges, universities, and institutes throughout the province, Melanie Mark—Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister—yesterday announced that work was underway to ramp up tech seats in B.C.
“It’s critical that British Columbians are equipped with the right education and training for good-paying jobs in a 21st-century economy,” said Mark, speaking after a meeting with a number of tech employers in Vancouver. “We’re building up British Columbians by improving access to affordable education and training so they can take advantage of growing tech sector opportunities.”
Much of the tech industry is based in Vancouver, with more than 75,000 of its total employees working in the city. Mark met with a number of top local employers, as well as tech co-op students and post-secondary partners, at the BC Tech Innovation Hub on the Great Northern Way Campus: a location that also houses a number of academic institutions that have already shifted their focus to train students for the industry. There, she participated in a roundtable discussion about how best to equip learners for success.
The visit concludes the ministry’s engagement with a number of individual public post-secondary institutions over the past several weeks, with the aim of determining the type of programming, number of seats, financial allocation, and timing for implementation necessary to best capitalize on the growing tech sector.
At the forefront of discussions were how to increase programming that fits with industry needs, allow transfer students to enter the courses, and aid locations with increasing demand. The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is now developing a tech-talent plan to respond to the needs of the tech sector, and improve northern access.
More than 83,000 tech-related job openings are anticipated over the next 10 years, particularly for computer programmers, information system analysts, and software designers.
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