Investing in mass timber education supports clean growth

More students will get the education and skills they need to build using one of the province’s greatest natural advantages: mass timber.

A new program is helping experienced carpenters, ironworkers and builders gain the in-demand skills needed to succeed in the growing field of mass timber innovation. Investing in mass timber education supports BC’s workers through expanding the mass timber sector. It strengthens the StrongerBC Economic Plan and the Province’s climate goals by supporting clean growth and renewable resources.

“We are investing in new post-secondary training for students to become leaders in mass timber construction, which will help people succeed and be future ready in a sector that is setting the example of how to build a better British Columbia for all,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “We’re also investing in student housing and projects that involve mass timber at post-secondary institutions, including providing $108.8 million toward BCIT’s new Tall Timber Student Housing, which is currently under construction.”

At the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Applied Mass Timber Build open house, Minister Anne Kang announced $250,000 to support BCIT to develop additional programming, building on the success of the new construction of mass timber structures associate certificate.

“This program is a game changer for our construction industry and our growing mass timber sector here in BC,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This investment will help ensure BC has enough workers with the right skills to build our buildings of the future – providing clean, inclusive, sustainable economic development in every corner of the province.”

The Construction of Mass Timber Structures Associate Certificate is a part-time, blended six-month program. It is delivered online, with a two-week practicum at the BCIT Burnaby campus, where students gain hands-on installation experience with mass timber structures. A cohort of 12 to 24 students will start in January 2023.

“We’re looking to the future to guide us and our workforce,” said Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North. “That’s why we’re focusing our efforts on growing, retaining and developing homegrown talent through our students right here in BC to meet the growing demand for well-paying jobs in a rewarding and innovative field like mass timber installation.”

The growing mass timber sector will support more than 4,000 jobs in manufacturing, technology, forestry, design, and engineering, and bring new jobs to communities throughout the province. The mass timber sector will promote new technologies and approaches to further support existing jobs, with a projected worth of $403 million by 2035.

“As the largest provider of trades training in Western Canada, it’s critical that BCIT is delivering relevant, hands-on training to help learners master in-demand skills, while contributing toward an agile workforce with sustained and meaningful impact,” said Wayne Hand, Dean, BCIT School of Construction and the Environment. “This investment from the Province of British Columbia allows more trades professionals in upskilling to advance mass timber innovation, clean-energy solutions, as well as the economic prosperity of BC.”

Mass timber is a sustainable building material that is engineered through fastening multiple layers of smaller dimension wood together with glue, dowels or nails. Mass timber products are solid, structural load-bearing components, such as columns, beams, and panels used to construct residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

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BCIT Mike Metcalfe
Mike Metcalfe, Foreman, Seagate Mass Timber, and Minister Anne Kang, Advanced Education and Skills Training.

“The BCIT introductory studies in mass timber construction micro-credential provided me with practical, industry-focused competencies to drive innovation in the growing field of mass timber,” said Mike Metcalfe, Foreman, Seagate Mass Timber. ”An expansion-education program, such as the Construction of Mass Timber Structures Associate Certificate, which I’m completing, will increase accessibility for professionals across sectors to be job ready in supporting new opportunities and demands of the workforce.”

Supporting new programs, such as this certificate program, aligns with StrongerBC’s Future Ready Skills for the Jobs of Tomorrow Plan. Future Ready will be a cross-government plan to make education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant, and help British Columbians thrive for the jobs of tomorrow, while helping businesses grow.

(This press release was first published by the Government of British Columbia.)

SEE MORE: BCIT names new Trades and Technology building after Vancouver developer Concert Properties

Facts about mass timber education, projects

Mass Timber Demonstration Program

  • Established in spring 2021 with an investment of more than $5.8 million to date, the Mass Timber Demonstration Program is delivered by Forestry Innovation Investment on behalf of the Province of British Columbia.
  • The third intake for the program is open and expressions of interest are being accepted until Oct. 7, 2022, with an additional $2 million available for successful applicants.
  • Individual projects can receive as much as $500,000 for incremental or one-time costs associated with design development, permitting and construction activities in mass timber building construction.
  • Goals of the program include:
    • expanding the use of mass timber in BC;
    • overcoming barriers to the development of mass timber expertise and construction; and
    • solidifying BC’s global leadership in advancing mass timber products, technologies and services.

Mass timber and advanced education in BC

  • Since 2019, BC has invested $850,000 toward wood innovation education at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
  • When the value-added component is considered, mass timber can deliver up to seven times the economic value when compared to milling logs for lumber.
  • Mass timber can match or exceed the structural, fire and seismic performance of concrete and steel while reducing carbon emissions by up to 45%.
  • Mass timber products are prefabricated building components that are brought to job sites just in time for installation, and reducing overall construction time, noise and disruption.
  • BCIT is the largest provider of trades and technology education in the province.

Mass timber building projects underway at post-secondary institutions in 2022

  • The Province has invested $732 million in 10 projects that involve mass timber at post-secondary institutions throughout BC.


  • The Province invested $108.8 million toward BCIT’s Tall Timber Student Housing project, which is under construction.
  • The Province is also contributing $136.6 million toward the BCIT Trades and Technology Complex, which will include a campus services building built of mass timber, a carpentry pavilion with a mass timber roof structure and a covered marine workshop, which will provide a structure fitted for the assembly of mass timber projects.
    • The pavilion will be built for the new mass timber construction training program.

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