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B.C. expanding mass-timber skills training

July 27, 2023  By  Jennifer Ellson

Photo: Annex Business Media.

People looking to excel in B.C.’s growing mass-timber sector can now access more knowledge and training opportunities at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

“Mass timber is a strong, clean building technology that is at the centre of our province’s future construction blueprint,” said Jagrup Brar, Minister of State for Trade, and chair of the Mass Timber Advisory Council. “Partnering with BCIT to increase our province’s catalogue of available skills training builds on the work we’ve done to create a world-class mass timber sector in B.C., and helps ensure our province has enough workers with the right skills to construct our climate-smart buildings of the future, and build more homes with mass timber.”

As part of the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, the Province is providing BCIT with $3.3 million to create a mass-timber training hub, providing expanded opportunities for people to gain new skills in the sector. Two new mass-timber courses are expected to be piloted in the fall to complement BCIT’s existing training. Once construction is complete on the new state-of-the-art trades and technology complex for the Burnaby campus, all mass-timber training courses will be housed there.

“For nearly 60 years, BCIT has been delivering flexible, relevant education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges,” said Jeff Zabudsky, president, BCIT. “Today’s funding announcement in support of mass-timber training is a prime example of how BCIT, government and industry continue to collaborate to identify areas of need, and quickly build talent to support in-demand jobs across the province. Together, we are advancing the mass-timber sector to the benefit of students, employers, our economy and our climate future.”


Delivered through strategic partnerships with industry, BCIT will continue developing new programs combining online and community-based delivery models and in-person learning. The expanded mass-timber training programs will increase accessibility for professionals to be job ready, fill the current knowledge gaps in the industry and combat the skilled worker challenge in the sector.

Mass timber is a sustainable building material that is engineered through fastening multiple layers of smaller dimension wood together with glue, dowels or nails to create solid, structural load-bearing components, such as columns, beams and panels. Thanks to the repeatable, standardized design and factory approach of mass timber, it is especially well-suited for rental buildings, urban in-fill and transit-oriented “missing middle” housing.

“Investing in more training opportunities for people is a key component of our StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan,” said Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Workforce Development. “Together with BCIT, we are ensuring people have the skills they need to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in rewarding careers like mass-timber installation.”

Building opportunities for people to prepare for a career in the trades supports the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, which focuses on making education and training more accessible, affordable, responsive and relevant to help people prepare for jobs. The action plan is supported by a provincial investment of $480 million over three years.

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