BC Colleges Transform Today To Meet Tomorrow’s Economic Needs

Kelowna – British Columbia’s strong network of colleges are responding to today’s rapid economic changes by transforming programming, embracing the latest technology and offering more experiential learning to ensure today’s students are prepared for lifelong career success.

“This is the heart of the season when we celebrate graduations and it is a perfect time to celebrate learning and student success while also looking to the future,” says John Bowman, Chair of BC Colleges (BCC) and President of North Island College. “BC’s colleges are sharply focused on the future as we respond to economic change to develop the innovative and creative thinkers our emerging economy needs.”

As presidents of BC’s colleges gather in Kelowna, they are marking the official release of “Transforming for Tomorrow - BC Colleges: Creating Opportunities for All,” a strategy for working with government and other partners to prepare learners with the skills and knowledge to drive the economy and improve communities. The report identifies strategic ideas for action designed to benefit students and employers.

“Through digitized classrooms, simulation labs, virtual reality and mobile classrooms we are delivering a flexible learning environment across BC’s communities,” says Sherri Bell, who will take over from Bowman as Chair of BCC in the coming year. “Our inclusive approach in supporting equity seeking groups provides those students with the necessary services, experience and education to enter the job market. A market that urgently needs skilled and talented employees.”

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, echoes the importance of the work being done by BC Colleges. 

“Higher education and training can open the doors to a range of opportunities – from tech to tourism through to trades, business and health care,” notes Mark. “We want our neighbours to be able to participate in the workforce and build thriving careers to support themselves and their families. One of the best ways to build the best BC is to invest in accessible and affordable post-secondary education and skills training. Thank you, BC Colleges, for driving change and creating opportunities for students to live out their dreams close to home.”

In every corner of the province, there are student stories of success made possible by studying at BC Colleges. One such success was shared by a Camosun student during this year’s BC Colleges Day celebrations.

 “The education I received prepared me for a career in engineering and design,” said Jesse Gough, a recent Camosun College graduate from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program. “Thanks to the skills obtained at Camosun, I am able to work on leading-edge design and manufacturing which is in high demand by local tech companies.”

Of course, making education more affordable is of prime importance to ensure that colleges can continue to lead the way by transforming today to meet the needs of BC’s future economy.

“Making sure BC companies have access to skilled workers is a priority for our government and of critical importance to BC Colleges,” says Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “Today’s students are the community and industry leaders of tomorrow. By providing them with the opportunities and tools for the careers of tomorrow, we are helping further economic prosperity for the province.”

Quick Facts:

  • BC Colleges is an association that represents 10 of the public post-secondary colleges in the province.
  • BC Colleges has college campuses and learning centres in more than 60 communities around the province.
  • Investments in colleges include:
    • 340 additional tech seats, 182.5 (FTE) early childhood education seats in 2018 and 331 health care assistant spaces
    • Tuition-free adult upgrading
    • $2.2 million saved through the use of open textbooks
    • 274 former youth in care at BC colleges benefiting from free tuition.
    • Elimination of interest on BC student loans.
    • Approximately 900,000 job openings are expected in the next 10 years due to a combination of retirement and economic growth. About eight out of 10 jobs will require some post-secondary education.

Learn More:
BC Colleges –

On-site Media Contact:
Colin Ewart, President
BC Colleges
Cell: 778-350-2113

Media Contact:
Lori Elder, Communications Manager
BC Colleges
Cell: 250-812-8209