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Students, industry connect in BCIT’s Tech Collider

February 10, 2023 at 1:43 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

With a focus on supporting B.C.’s vibrant technology sector, the new Tech Collider at the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s (BCIT) downtown campus will connect students and industry to solve real-world challenges.   

“British Columbia has one of the fastest-growing tech sectors in Canada,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “Investing in technology and innovation centres like BCIT’s Tech Collider will help students get the skills and education they need to pursue fulfilling and in-demand careers in tech, while offering opportunities for employers in the tech industry to access the next generation of B.C. talent to close the labour shortage and continue delivering the services British Columbians rely on.”

A multi-purpose learning centre and collaboration space centred in the heart of downtown Vancouver’s technology and business district, the Tech Collider encourages collaboration (or “collision”), learning, and innovation between students, entrepreneurs and industry professionals.  

With an investment of $9.85 million from the Province, the Tech Collider features state-of-the-art audiovisual technologies, including one of the largest interactive, multimedia screens in Western Canada, measuring 10 metres (32 feet) wide and three metres (nine feet) high. Throughout, there are flexible conference and learning spaces to accommodate as many as 250 people.

“The technology sector will continue to be a key growth industry over the next 10 years with more than 100,000 new job openings,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “The BCIT Tech Collider will help produce highly skilled and well-rounded graduates who can quickly advance in the tech sector. Exposure to leading-edge tech, high-level entrepreneurs, and industry professionals will position graduates for success.”

The new Tech Collider provides classroom and lab space, and features new and expanded tech programming where students can engage with entrepreneurs and tech employers on real-world challenges in media design and production, 3D printing, virtual reality and entrepreneurship services. The Tech Collider features “makerspaces”, collaborative workspaces for learning and sharing. These spaces help to prepare students for 21st-century skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As part of the expansion, BCIT also received ongoing operating funding for 300 new tech seats.

Investing in technology is a part of StrongerBC’s Future Ready Plan, which is making education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant, to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.

Quotes: 

Paul McCullough, interim president, BCIT –

“BCIT has been meeting the needs of learners and the technology industry for almost 60 years. This next-generation learning and collaboration space brings tech companies and our skilled students together to explore challenges, build responsive solutions, and solve real-world problems. A space like this – in the heart of downtown Vancouver – builds our capacity to meet the future skills of a sector that is vital to an inclusive, sustainable and innovative economy.”

James Rout, associate vice-president, education support and innovation, BCIT

“The Tech Collider offers flexible and convenient access for entrepreneurs and professionals in the technology sector to partner with BCIT students and faculty in advancing innovation across the workplace. This multi-purpose space exemplifies BCIT’s leadership in driving industry engagement, lifelong learning and strategic workforce development.”

Sally Poon, BCIT student (computer systems technology) and Student Association downtown chair –

“The BCIT Tech Collider means an opportunity for students to come together and collaborate, whether that be for our studies or projects with industry. It has become an important space for student life at the BCIT downtown campus, as well as creating a sense of community with industry.”

Kassandra Linklater, COO, Frontier Collective –

“We’re living through a technological revolution as the world is rapidly shifting and BCIT is helping make sure we develop the workforce of the future. The Frontier Collective believes that Vancouver needs more confluence spaces and BCIT Tech Collider offers an innovative way for this to occur.”

A backgrounder follows.

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