For businesses to relocate to Mission, there needs to be a good quality of life for employees, and skilled technical training and educational opportunities, according to a regional informational technology (IT) expert.
And Mission has taken another step forward in increasing its desirability to companies through the newly announced IT technician (ITT) program which is starting up at Riverside College in September.
Applications are now being accepted for the five-course endeavour, and graduates will earn industry association standard certifications that comply with ministry of education standards.
Ray Szabada, founder of the non-profit Sumas Regional Consortium for High Technology (SRC-Tec), said, “Every time there is a need for skilled IT workers, the knee-jerk reaction is to source people from India, Asia or Eastern Europe. Riverside’s new program will help us in developing a self-sufficient model that both creates jobs and increases our productivitiy as a whole.”
Szabada has been working on the underpinnings of this program since 2007, in collaboration with university professors and other technically sound professionals. He first successfully introduced the program to the Sto:lo Nation in 2010, and is pleased to see this first step be included in Mission school district’s offerings.
But this is just a start, he continued.
The next phase would be targeting the education, with help from industry employers, towards specific types of businesses.
“If we want to attract industry, we need these programs to be taken seriously.”
Eventually, Szabada would like to see a regional technological centre of excellence that would provide training and education.
Mission is well-poised to emerge as an industry leader due to companies recognizing the high price of doing business and leasing property in Metro Vancouver, he said.
The Riverside program will be the only program in the Fraser Valley providing certifications for this level of training. Graduates will join the work force as entry-level IT administrators, call centre support, desktop support and small business IT support workers.
“Every program at Riverside has a concrete connection to the local marketplace and our new IT technician program is no different,” says Cathy Anderson, Riverside College principal. “When we first learned of the shortage from local business leaders, we began to research broader community partnerships and support for instituting a program at Riverside. The response we got was very positive and the result is our new ITT program.”
Riverside allows students to work towards completing Grade 12 while offering its programs, plus academic courses.
For more information visit www.goriversidecollege.ca or call 604-814-0446. The school is located at 33919 Dewdney Trunk Rd.