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B.C. invests in mass timber education program

August 15, 2022  By CFI Staff and Government of British Columbia

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More students will get the education and skills they need to build using one of British Columbia’s greatest natural advantages: mass timber.

A new program is helping experienced carpenters, ironworkers and builders gain the in-demand skills needed to succeed in the growing field of mass timber innovation. Investing in mass timber education supports B.C.’s workers through expanding the mass timber sector. It strengthens the StrongerBC Economic Plan and the province’s climate goals by supporting clean growth and renewable resources.

“We are investing in new post-secondary training for students to become leaders in mass timber construction, which will help people succeed and be future ready in a sector that is setting the example of how to build a better British Columbia for all,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “We’re also investing in student housing and projects that involve mass timber at post-secondary institutions, including providing $108.8 million toward BCIT’s new Tall Timber Student Housing, which is currently under construction.”

At the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Applied Mass Timber Build open house, Kang announced $250,000 to support BCIT to develop additional programming, building on the success of the new construction of mass timber structures associate certificate.


“This program is a game changer for our construction industry and our growing mass timber sector here in B.C.,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This investment will help ensure B.C. has enough workers with the right skills to build our buildings of the future – providing clean, inclusive, sustainable economic development in every corner of the province.”

The construction of mass timber structures associate certificate is a part-time, blended six-month program. It is delivered online, with a two-week practicum at the BCIT Burnaby campus, where students gain hands-on installation experience with mass timber structures. A cohort of 12 to 24 students will start in January 2023.

“We’re looking to the future to guide us and our workforce,” said Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North. “That’s why we’re focusing our efforts on growing, retaining and developing homegrown talent through our students right here in B.C. to meet the growing demand for well-paying jobs in a rewarding and innovative field like mass timber installation.”

The growing mass timber sector will support more than 4,000 jobs in manufacturing, technology, forestry, design and engineering, and bring new jobs to communities throughout the province. The mass timber sector will promote new technologies and approaches to further support existing jobs, with a projected worth of $403 million by 2035.

“As the largest provider of trades training in Western Canada, it’s critical that BCIT is delivering relevant, hands-on training to help learners master in-demand skills, while contributing toward an agile workforce with sustained and meaningful impact,” said Wayne Hand, dean, BCIT’s school of construction and the environment. “This investment from the province of British Columbia allows more trades professionals in upskilling to advance mass timber innovation, clean-energy solutions, as well as the economic prosperity of B.C.”

Mass timber is a sustainable building material that is engineered through fastening multiple layers of smaller dimension wood together with glue, dowels or nails. Mass timber products are solid, structural load-bearing components, such as columns, beams and panels used to construct residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

“The BCIT introductory studies in mass timber construction micro-credential provided me with practical, industry-focused competencies to drive innovation in the growing field of mass timber,” said Mike Metcalfe, foreman, Seagate Mass Timber. ”An expansion-education program, such as the construction of mass timber structures associate certificate, which I’m completing, will increase accessibility for professionals across sectors to be job ready in supporting new opportunities and demands of the workforce.”

Learn more: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022AEST0050-001243.


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