The provincial government is committing over $125 million to create and retain tech talent in British Columbia.
Premier John Horgan made the announcement earlier this morning at the BC Tech Summit held at Vancouver Convention Centre.
The investments include $102.6 million for 75 post-secondary research projects, which will develop BC’s expertise and innovation in areas such as advanced supercomputing and clean technology. This is intended to spur job creation, talent development, and commercialize innovation.
Another $12 million will go towards graduate degree scholarships over the next three years, specifically in science, tech, engineering, and mathematics programs. Some of this will be dedicated to Indigenous students and women-in-technology scholarships.
Additionally, the provincial government will invest $10.5 million in co-op opportunities and entrepreneurial training for post-secondary students so that they have the job-ready experience when they enter the tech job market.
“Our job is to provide opportunities and partnerships that help companies and individuals innovate, succeed and grow,” said Horgan in a statement.
“This approach delivers more jobs and a stronger economy, and helps support health care, education, housing, and other public services that make British Columbia a great place to live and work.”
Funding commitments to support key talent-development programs will be followed by policy changes in a new province-wide tech strategy to be released next year.
BC’s tech industry has quickly become one of the province’s largest industries, with over 106,000 relatively high-paying jobs within over 10,000 businesses. The provincial government is forecasting rapid growth in the industry – over 83,000 tech-related job openings are expected by 2027.
Over the interim, there will be a tech talent crunch. A recent report by WorkBC on the tech labour market indicates current labour supply channels will only be able to fill about 16,500 tech jobs by 2021, leaving 30,500 job opportunities vacant.