September 16, 2008 16:00 ET

New BCIT Program Supports Forestry Industry Competitiveness

Institute launches Sustainable Resource Management (SRM) program

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 16, 2008) - The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is underlining its long-term commitment to BC's forest industry with the introduction of a new program designed to support the workforce competitiveness of this vital sector.

"Forestry is still BC's most important industry," says Don Wright, president of BCIT and former deputy minister of Forests for the Province of British Columbia. "We hope the new program will provide an important source of highly qualified personnel to match the strong labour market demand for their skills."

Key features of the program, Sustainable Resource Management, include flexibility, accessibility, and convenience for the growing population of adult learners who often work full-time while simultaneously upgrading their skills. It will be introduced to the BCIT curricula and will be available as a part-time studies program beginning in September, 2008.

"The Sustainable Resource Management program is an excellent example of bridging advanced education and labour market development by responding to the needs of B.C.'s forest workers," said Murray Coell, minister for Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. "The expertise of BCIT's teaching faculty will help address the current challenges faced by B.C.'s forest industry and position it for future success."

Students are taught the concepts and technical skills required to manage increasingly stringent and evolving global standards for environmental protection and societal demand to apply the principles of sustainability. Graduates may also pursue an education pathway that prepares them for eligibility to enrol as members of the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP), and to become registered forest technologists.

The new program offers a number of features that are designed to attract students with a wide variety of backgrounds and employment goals. For example: the availability of electives, a focus on sustainability, linkages to and course credits towards many undergraduate degree programs, and a strong balance of academic learning combined with hands-on practical skills training.

Students also have the freedom to enrol in just one course, as needed, or work through the entire program leading up to the following credentials: a Natural Resource Certificate of Technology, a Sustainable Resource Management Diploma of Technology with a focus on Forest Management, or a Sustainable Resource Management Diploma of Technology with a focus on Environmental and Community Land Management.

"There is a need right now for the kind of students that BCIT will be graduating from this program," says Sharon Glover, chief executive officer of the ABCFP. "We are delighted that BCIT has stepped up to the plate and we are keen to work with them to attract a strong and steady supply of talented individuals to ensure the long term health and sustainability of BC's forest resources."

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