PUBLISHED IN THE PG CITIZEN ON SEPTEMBER 3, 2013
With great satisfaction I read the article of Ann English, the CEO of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. Finally our largest Technology Association is acknowledging that it is time to educate engineers in the North for the North for the benefit of all of B.C. The association of Technologists and Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC) has supported the education of technologists in the North already earlier.
Yes, it is good news to have two Master of Engineering programs established in Prince George and so, will attract graduated engineers to our city. The Wood Innovation and Design Centre will house these programs and be an extension of UNBC. To feed the new programs and to satisfy the tremendous demand for technologists and engineers, the respective undergraduate programs have to be implemented locally. At the same time a technology program at the colleges should be reinstated.
There is tremendous interest in technology of students in our schools, and we have to provide the education that is in such a high demand. The gap between demand and supply is growing daily, while at the same time economic opportunities cannot be harvested due to the steadily increasing skills gap. I know, all of this is not new, but worthwhile to be pointed out over and over again.
The Northern Technology & Engineering Society of B.C. (NTES) – with now close to 250 members – has concluded a special educational and awareness program consisting of school visits in north central B.C. to educate teachers and more importantly students about the job opportunities in our northern economy, focusing on technology. A consultant had been hired and with the assistance of local engineers and technologists the school visits took place over a period of several months. One can consider this feeding the pump, because we all are expecting that the required educational programs will be implemented in the near future.
We seriously have to concentrate on diversification and innovation of our industry, although one can argue that the Prince George economy is fairly diversified. This, however, is certainly not the case in other and smaller communities of B.C. We have to be able to add more value to our resources and soften the economic up and down cycles.
President, Northern Technology & Engineering Society of B.C.