KPU Tech To Create New Mechatronics Program with Government Funding

The mechatronics and advanced manufacturing program will be the of its kind offered to trades and technology students

Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark announces the BC NDP’s new plan to fund post-secondary tech programs in BC. (flickr/BC NDP)

The KPU Trades and Technology Department will be offering a new program in the near future thanks to some funding from the provincial government.

The new mechatronics and advanced manufacturing program will be created with the help of a $4.4-million investment in developing post-secondary trades programs across the province that the government announced in January. Other universities receiving investments are UBC, SFU, and BCIT, which will collectively add thousands of new seats to some of their own trades and tech programs.

“The tech sector in the Lower Mainland is booming, so it’s vital that we ensure students have the educational opportunities they need to access and succeed in these good-paying jobs,” wrote Melanie Mark, the B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training, in an email statement.

KPU’s allocation of the investment is expected to help create 40 seats for the newly created program, which will ultimately give students a two-year certification and educate them in a variety of different technology and manufacturing skills.

“I’m proud that the funding from our government will help KPU develop and deliver a mechatronics and advanced manufacturing technology program, as it adds to the immensity of tech programs available at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.,” wrote Mark. “This year’s $4.4 million is only the beginning of our government’s investment in the talented future leaders of our province and a strong, sustainable, and innovative 21st-century economy.”

Their first year will be spent obtaining Siemens mechatronics certification. In the second year of the program, students will focus on learning more advanced, hands-on skills including welding, millwright, and electrical services.

“It’s exciting news for us,” says Dr. David Florkowski, the Dean of the Faculty of Health and the Interim Dean of the Faculty of Trades and Technology at KPU. “This will help us expand into the manufacturing technology area, and based on the environment that we’re in, everything is moving towards that.”

Florkowski says that “the fact that KPU has been selected to receive these seats puts us in a good place to be with the technology as it grows, and it will prepare students for the field they will enter from the program.”

He adds that KPU has been negotiating with the provincial government for months in order to help them fulfil their promise to invest more money into post-secondary trades education.

“We’ve been lobbying the government for anything we can do to support the advancement of trades and technology and we knew that, with the new government coming in, this was part of their mandate,” he says. “This is actually quite a big deal for our trades and technology [students] because this is the first program that’s going to be delivered at an undergraduate level for them. It’s setting the tone for KPU and how we’re advancing as a university in trying to achieve our polytechnic mandate.”

According to a B.C. government’s news release, the province will add approximately 2,900 tech-related spaces by 2023. Start-up funding for this is expected to increase over time to $42 million.

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