BCIT, ASTTBC and VSB Partner to Tackle Looming Skills Shortage

This morning, fresh from their successful performance this weekend at the B.C. Vex Robotics Championships at BCIT, a group of Gladstone Secondary students helped inaugurate a plan that will enhance career and training opportunities for young skilled workers interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Vancouver School Board, BCIT and the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC) have joined forces with the hopes of enhancing awareness of careers that flow from these fields, lead to the development of new initiatives and educational programming as well as develop an increased number of relevant teaching methodologies to implement at both the secondary and post-secondary level.

MoU signing"We are committed to working with our post-secondary partners and industry organizations to continue to refine our programs and educational offerings to prepare the skilled workers of tomorrow with an applicable and diverse education today," says Steve Cardwell, Superintendent of the Vancouver School District. 

Overall, the agreement is designed to improve the collaboration among secondary and post-secondary institutions and align their programs to meet the needs of industry.

"BCIT's partnership with ASTTBC and VSB will create much needed pathways for high school students to move directly into high-skilled tech programs so that they can launch their careers," says Paul Dangerfield, Vice President of Education, Research and International at BCIT. "In doing so, we will create excitement and awareness around these careers and better serve students, industry and businesses while reducing student loan debt."

The Vancouver School Board currently has 615 Grade 12 students enrolled in science and applied science programs and another 189 students in trades and technology programs. In addition to robotics courses at Gladstone and University Hill Secondary, the VSB offers engineering courses at David Thompson and Gladstone Secondary Schools. Later this year, the district also plans to launch an IT and CISCO Networking course at Killarney Secondary. It currently provides career prep programs in science and applied science in 16 secondary schools and in trades and technology in 15 secondary schools.

"This agreement will clearly help to excite young minds in science and technology.  We're confident that in the long run it will help reveal an amazing range of careers in technology for young students," says John Leech, the Executive Director of the Applied Science and Technologists and Technicians of BC. "Today's toy robot maker or popsicle bridge builder could be tomorrow's technology professional."

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