BY BILL PHILLIPS
It’s bigger, brand spankin’ new, and full of the latest tech.
And even though some students have been attending since September 4, the new 25,317-square-foot heavy mechanical trades facility at the College of New Caledonia was officially opened Monday morning by Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark.
“I’ve learned (since being appointed minister last year) how valuable the trades are to British Columbians,” she said to a crowd of about 100 people gathered outside the new facility. “You are building our communities.”
The $18.5 million heavy mechanical trades facility can accommodate 251 full-time-equivalent spaces, and up to 48 new spaces, in the heavy-duty equipment technician and truck and transport mechanics program. It will be able to accommodate five classes in roomier digs, up from the three in cramped quarters in the old facility at the Nicholson Centre.
Heavy mechanical trades students inspect, service and repair heavy trucks, commercial trucks, buses, diesel engines, transport trailers, cranes, graders, drills, bulldozers and other heavy equipment.
“Students need to learn on the best, by the best, in order to do their jobs successfully,” Mark said. “… It’s critical that we prepare our trade students with the skills and knowledge that employers are calling for.”
CNC trades opened in 1960 and is now the fourth largest post-secondary trades institution in B.C. with close 1,700 students enrolled.
“The college works with local and regional employers and industry to ensure that we’re equipping our students with the skills that are needed in the workplace,” said Henry Reiser, CNC president. “Providing responsive, relevant and quality training positions our students for success. The strength of CNC’s programming includes practical hands-on training. The new heavy mechanical trades facility will enable students to develop the skills that employers are looking for.”
Funding was provided through the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which contributed $6.9 million to the building. The province contributed $10.1 million with CNC kicking in $1.5 million.
For student Ryan Bachand, the new facility is much better than the old one.
“As a student, I appreciate the work that has been done to improve my learning and further education for those interested in the heavy duty mechanic trade,” he said. “I am very happy and excited to continue my learning in this new building.”