The Minister of Advanced Education was in the Cariboo Friday morning, touring the Thompson Rivers University Campus in Williams Lake.
Minister Andrew Wilkinson, says as newly minted Minister he believes it is important to get around and see all 25 of the provincially funded and regulated post-secondary institutions across the province.
“There’s also the added factor that TRU and CNC (College of New Caledonia) have these branch campuses in Quesnel and Williams Lake.”
“I’m very comfortable in this corner of the world so I thought let’s go there too make sure how it is working on the ground. It’s great to drop in Williams Lake and check out this nice, new building I’ve never been in before.”
We later caught up with Wilkinson, who was appointed Minister of Advanced Education on December 18, 2014, after he completed his tour.
He says he learned quite a bit.
“We need to make sure that we’re addressing the communities in the rural areas which is a big area west of Williams Lake, providing the kind of management training that is going to be more and more important.”
“We have some great mechanical shops here offering the heavy-duty mechanical program and others. There’s a real opportunity here for people to improve their skills and get out in the workforce.”
Wilkinson also spoke with Nursing Students and their interest of having the full 4-year program offered in Williams Lake.
He says although the anticipated 1 million job growth across the province is welcoming, there are some concerns when it comes to post-secondary institutions.
“We’re very concerned that the training and opportunities in the sector match the market. We’re increasingly focused on skills being prepared in places like TRU here in Williams Lake, so people are ready for the job market.”
“That’s an ongoing project where we make sure institutions are offering the things students need to get out there in the work-force.”
Wilkinson was unable to tour the New Caledonia College in Quesnel due to the weather.