B.C. partners with Surrey for manufacturing research study

Sunday August 27, 2017
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Aug. 27, 2017 - A partnership between the British Columbia government and the City of Surrey is developing new strategies to help local manufacturers grow their operations and create new jobs.

With $125,832 in funding from the province, the city has hired a research consultant to identify and address current labour market challenges within the sector and identify strategies to create more jobs to support industry.

“With rapid technological advancements in the manufacturing industry, upgrading our operations often means new skill-set requirements among our staff. Initiatives that can help us close skill gaps are valuable in maintaining our competitiveness in a rapidly changing industry,” said Dan Reader, president at Murray Latta Progressive Machine.

An initial study commissioned jointly by the City of Surrey, Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University found that the current size of the advanced manufacturing and innovation economy workforce in Surrey could grow by as much as 134 per cent over the next decade.

According to the province, Surrey is already home to a range of manufacturing businesses, spanning from robotics and technology companies to machinery and furniture producers. The new study will focus on working with industry and local academic institutions to close the technical skill shortage in the sector, as well as address emerging skills requirements as a result of rapid and disruptive technological developments associated with the digitalization of B.C.’s economy. As well, the study will look at investment opportunities across the Lower Mainland, with a focus on Surrey. Research will be carried out through focus groups, expert interviews and literature review.

“With a third of our population under the age of 19, equipping our youth is of paramount importance. We welcome the Province’s support and are proud to partner with Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to develop industry-relevant and leading-edge training programs for our expanding population,” noted Linda Hepner, mayor of the City of Surrey.

The study is expected to be completed by April 2018.

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