BCIT receives over $14.5 million in funding to support aerospace and life sciences training

What do aerospace and life sciences have in common? They are both hot spots of innovation and growth in British Columbia. With over 200 companies, British Columbia has one of the largest aerospace clusters in Canada. BC’s life sciences sector is the fastest growing in Canada. PacifiCan is committed to helping businesses in these sectors innovate and thrive.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced $14.5 million in PacifiCan funding for two projects with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

The investment includes over $9.3 million through the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative and over $5.2 million through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems Program to help BCIT establish new training programs in the aerospace and life sciences sectors.

The BC aerospace industry is facing labour shortages, especially for employees working in maintenance, repair and overhaul. To address the industry’s need for skilled workers, BCIT is receiving over $9.3 million in funding to launch a new hands-on training program for gas turbine maintenance, repair and overhaul in the aerospace sector – the first of its kind in North America. This investment is expected to create 160 new jobs and generate an additional $360 million in revenue in British Columbia by 2027.

BC, and Canada as a whole, are also facing skills shortages in the biomanufacturing sector. However, industry-recognized hands-on training is not offered in Western Canada, which can limit Canada’s ability to attract talent and compete globally.

For that reason, BCIT is receiving over $5.2 million in funding to create a National Biomanufacturing Training Centre. The Province of BC is also contributing $2 million. This facility will provide training, professional development and talent for biotech companies in BC and across Western Canada. This investment is expected to see more than 700 people trained every year once the centre is operational and produce highly-trained personnel for in-demand jobs.


The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“The first step in building long-term prosperity is tackling short-term labour shortages. The projects being announced today will deliver the trained, talented employees our biomanufacturing and aerospace sectors need to innovate and grow.”

Brenda Bailey, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation

“BC is home to Canada’s fastest growing life sciences sector, which will need hundreds and eventually thousands of new, highly skilled employees to continue expanding. Establishing the Training Centre here in BC is part of our Stronger BC’s Future Ready commitment. It will help us address the current skills shortage, purposefully prepare for the future and boost BC’s businesses and competitiveness.”

Paul McCullough, Interim President, BCIT

“This National Biomanufacturing Training Centre is a natural extension of BCIT’s expertise in workforce development to support Canada’s Life Sciences sector. With funding support from the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada, we are excited to move forward in collaboration with the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences to develop a state-of-the-art facility and suite of programs to respond to industry need. British Columbia has long been recognized as a leader in biosciences and today marks another important milestone in creating a home for biomanufacturing workforce development and offering a portfolio of programs to support the growth of this sector.”

“The Enhanced Aircraft Gas Turbine Technician program is a great example of how BCIT’s agile approach to workforce development, combined with input from industry leaders, can provide a springboard to new approaches for post-secondary education and provide Canadians with access to meaningful and rewarding careers. This fully funded program will enable students to access tuition-free education and learn both at the BCIT Aerospace campus and MTU Maintenance Canada facility. Learning directly from leaders in the field, and applying skills using the latest technology, student will be prepared to embark on a rewarding career in the aerospace sector.”

Penny Walsh-McGuire, Executive Director, CASTL

“CASTL is excited to work with BCIT and others to help build a talent engine to power a growing biomanufacturing sector. The launch of this new facility will provide industry employees and post-secondary students with access to theoretical and hands-on training from a globally recognized curriculum. We appreciate the support of the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia as well as our network of industry and academic partners.”

Mark Roesler, Director, Quality, MTU Maintenance Canada

“As a leading provider of MRO services to the aviation industry, MTU Maintenance Canada is proud to partner with BCIT to develop new interest in aerospace careers and aide in the resurgence of qualified technicians in our province.”

Quick Facts

  • The Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative is helping the Canadian aerospace sector emerge from the pandemic ready to compete on the global stage. With a total budget of $250 million over three years (until March 31, 2024), this initiative is being delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies, including PacifiCan.
  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystem Program aims to grow and nurture priority sectors across British Columbia, building an inclusive innovation ecosystem that allows those sectors to innovate and compete globally.
  • PacifiCan is the dedicated federal economic development partner for British Columbians. This means being laser-focused on innovative businesses growing at home while competing abroad, creating quality jobs and supporting inclusive growth in communities across BC.

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