Automotive technicians in B.C. are now able to upgrade their skills to enter the electric vehicle sector workforce through a $440,000 expansion of the province’s 2019 EV Maintenance Training Program
Skills training is a hot-button topic in the zero emission space, with new technologies being developed every day and a gap growing between what’s being invented and who is actually able to operate it.
The province of B.C. is taking a proactive step to bridge this chasm with the launch of three new automotive EV training programs offered at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, College of New Caledonia’s Prince George campus and Camosun College’s Interurban campus in Victoria. The first training program was launched out of the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2019 as a pilot and was fully instituted in 2020.
“We know from speaking with our students and with industry that there is huge interest and a real need for EV training. This funding ensures we can tool up to deliver state-of-the-art training that will help our students be in demand and get jobs,” said Andrew Ross, automotive service technician instructor, Okanagan College, in the announcement press release. “[I]t’s a win-win-win.”
Part of a bigger provincial strategy
As part of its response to COVID-19, the B.C. government devised a now $8.25-billion initiative called StrongerBC. A clear mandate of the Economic Recovery Plan — the latest phase of the program, announced in January — is to get people in the province back to work by “investing in targeted and short-term skills training in in high-demand fields,” according the StrongerBC website.
The recent boost in funding for EV training in select colleges in the province aligns with B.C.’s umbrella plan to bounce back from COVID-19. The $440,000 in funding for the EV skills program comes from a partnership between CleanBC Go Electric Program and Trades Training BC (TTBC) — a consortium of 15 post-secondary institutions focusing on promoting the trades in the province.
“This government support for the post-secondary system to work with industry promotes trades and trades workers contributing to the action on climate change,” TTBC president and CEO, Guy Ellis, said in the press release.
B.C. was the first province to offer EV skills training for automotive mechanics.
“We’re supporting the growing popularity of EVs by helping auto technicians develop the skills they need to work on EVs in service centres across B.C.,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “The expansion of the EV Maintenance Training program will help grow our EV sector and make it even easier for British Columbians to make the switch to an EV, putting us on the road to a cleaner, better future.”