Minister announces expanded coding training funding to support tech sector

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Building on the #BCTECH Strategy, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson today announced $500,000 in funding to expand short-term computer coding courses to nine public post-secondary institutions.

In March 2015, five public post-secondary institutions each received targeted one-time funding of $50,000. The funding supported short-term coding pilot programs tailored to meet local tech-industry needs and job openings. This year, government has expanded funding to a further five sites, in addition to continuing funding for the previous five institutions offering short-term coding programs.

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The institutions receiving new funding include Langara College, Thompson Rivers University, the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus), the University of the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island University. Institutions whose programs will continue are British Columbia Institute of Technology, Okanagan College, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia (Vancouver campus) and the University of Victoria.

“The tech sector in British Columbia generates over $23 billion in revenue annually and employs more than 92,000 people. Increasing opportunities for coding skills training supports the talent pillar of our #BCTECH strategy and will keep local industry supplied with employees who want to learn, live, and work here,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson at an event on the UFV Abbotsford campus.

“Coding provides the essential backbone of so many growing industries in the tech sector across BC. UFV is pleased to have the support of government as our continuing education department develops programs that will provide students with hands-on training, practicum opportunities, and mentorship development with local tech employers in the Fraser Valley and beyond,” said Eric Davis, UFV Provost and VP Academic.

Throughout the province, several hundred students enrolled for initial course offerings when the first pilot programs launched in 2015. Additional courses will be launched later this year. The programming takes a variety of forms, reflecting the diversity of the opportunities available. For example, with funding support from the provincial government as well as local partners, the University of Victoria introduced Untangling the Webwith modules that provide an introduction to resources, practices, programs and career options for people who had no prior experience in the tech sector. British Columbia Institute of Technology offered a web-development fundamentals program, with five courses running over 12 weeks. The programs support B.C.s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which aligns funding for post-secondary
education and training with in-demand occupations, and the talent pillar of the #BCTECH Strategy.

Computer programmers and interactive media developers are among the top 100 occupations in the British Columbia 2025 Labour Market Outlook. As part of this program, BC Innovation Council was asked to facilitate discussions between various B.C. post-secondary institutions and private-industry stakeholders.

The B.C. tech sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy with jobs that pay 75% higher than average and employs over 92,000 people.

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