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New BCIT program provides specialized training for shipbuilding

by pmnationtalk on December 1, 2014812 Views

November 28, 2014

Intensive course a response to the need for skilled labour in shipbuilding

BURNABY, BC: Students across British Columbia who want to pursue a career in the shipbuilding industry can now choose a specialized skills training course for the anticipated demand in the marine and shipbuilding sectors.


The Marine Fitter program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology officially launched today with the first class of students beginning training. This intensive four-level training program prepares apprentices for work associated with safe and efficient shipyard production.

The Marine Fitter program is the result of partnerships between Seaspan, the Ministry of Advanced Education, BCIT, the Industry Training Authority of BC, the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS), Camosun College, and members of the marine industry.

“Today’s announcement marks the latest milestone in the continued rebirth of the once thriving shipbuilding industry in British Columbia,” said Jonathan Whitworth, CEO, Seaspan. “Seaspan is proud to partner with BCIT on this exciting new program that will help provide specialized knowledge and training for thousands of young people for years to come, as we develop and grow a world-class shipbuilding and ship repair centre of excellence on the West Coast.”

The first class in the program is a group of 14 ACCESS students who recently completed their Metal Fabrication Foundation class. They will learn to assemble ship components like hull frames and stringers, hatches and covers, decking and deck structures, and cabins.

“I have never seen such an enthusiastic and gifted group of students pursuing their passion,” said Peter Thomas, instructor, Marine Fitter and Metal Fabrication programs at BCIT.

In addition to metal fabrication, students in the Marine Fitter program will complete additional training in boilermaking and welding before tackling the specialized marine-focused training.

“With the anticipated increase in the number of skilled tradespeople needed in the marine sector, the Marine Fitter program will allow graduates to ‘hit the ground running’ in shipbuilding,” said Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT. “This is an example of BCIT working with government and key industry partners such as Seaspan and our educational partner ACCESS to help provide skilled people as part of the Jobs Plan.”

This course will further bolster the marine trades at BCIT in conjunction with the Shipbuilding and Ship Repairs Entry Level Training (SLRET) program that was partially funded through government’s Skills Development Employment Benefit ($150,000) and was developed by BCIT and Camosun College in collaboration with the Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Center (IMTARC).

“We want B.C. students and workers to be first in line for B.C. jobs,” said Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee. “That’s why government is making targeted investments to ensure our post-secondary training institutions can help all students get the necessary hands-on practical training that will prepare them for careers in sectors such as B.C.’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry.”

The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training provided $75,000 to develop the program’s curriculum through its Labour Market Partnerships fund to BCIT, Camosun College and the University of Victoria.


Media Contacts:

Andrea Bellamy, Media Relations Coordinator, 604.456.1278 or on the day of the event, Marita Luk, Manager, School of Construction, BCIT, 778.928.2222.


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