New facilities engineer a strong future for UNBC students

March 18, 2019
UNBC Environmental Engineering student Lucia Dekleer chats with Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training on Monday. The provincial government announced $3.5 million in infrastructure to support the University's first full civil and environmental engineering degree program in the North. Download high-resolution image

Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training

PRINCE GEORGE -- Starting this year, students at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) will be able to complete their full engineering degree close to home in the North, with a provincial investment of $3.5 million in new learning facilities.

The funding will help UNBC increase its use of existing classroom space and teaching laboratories, and create a centralized collaboration space for programs starting in September 2019, when UNBC students can start the first full civil and environmental engineering degree program in the North.

"These environmental and civil engineering students are the change-makers, innovators and leaders we need to help create a greener, more sustainable future for the best B.C.," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "This investment is all about opening doors for students into B.C.'s tech sector, which is fast growing and supports good-paying jobs. Our government is thrilled to make UNBC an educational destination of choice so that students in the North can study close to home."

The funding for civil and environmental engineering programs at UNBC supports government's CleanBC strategy to reduce climate pollution and boost energy-efficient solutions, while improving British Columbians' quality of life.

"I'm proud of UNBC's stellar reputation as an institution committed to sustainability, and a contributor to world-class teaching and research in the field of engineering," said Daniel Weeks, UNBC president. "We're thankful to the government for providing funding that is truly meaningful for our future scholars and talented faculty, whose work helps showcase the North's leadership on a global scale."

In January 2018, the Province announced funding for new civil and environmental engineering degree programs, which will ramp up to a total of 280 additional spaces by 2022-23 with 70 graduates per year expected by 2023.

"UNBC provides a unique learning environment for engineering students. We are fortunate to have passionate, dedicated faculty sharing their knowledge and expertise with us as we develop skills that will have benefits not only in the North but around the world," said Lucia Dekleer, UNBC environmental engineering student. "I'm certain UNBC students are appreciative of the government's investments in the post-secondary environment, including today's announcement, and we look forward to welcoming our fellow civil and environmental engineering students in the fall."

Quick Facts:

  • An additional 2,900 tech-related spaces throughout B.C.will produce 1,000 additional tech graduates a year by 2023. To support these new spaces, the Province plans to increase its investment up to a steady stream of $42 million a year in ongoing funding.
  • The tech sector in B.C. is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, generating about $31 billion in revenue and supporting over 114,000 good-paying jobs. The Province is home to more than 10,500 tech-related businesses.
  • Over 82,000 tech-focused jobs, including over 2,000 in the North, will need to be filled in B.C. over the next decade.
  • Tech-sector workers in B.C. earn weekly average salaries 70% higher than the average wage in B.C., which is also higher than the Canadian tech sector's average.
  • Post-secondary institutions in B.C. award more than 10,000 credentials annually in programs that support the tech sector in science, technology, engineering and math.
  • About 30,000 engineers are currently working in B.C., and nearly 12,000 job openings are forecasted over the next 10 years. Civil, mechanical and electrical engineers represent about 70% of these job openings.
  • About 7,300 of the projected job openings will be to replace retiring engineers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of job openings for engineers are expected to be in the professional, scientific and technical services industry. The remaining projected job openings are spread across a wide range of industries, with the largest being manufacturing, construction and utilities.
  • An additional 12,000 engineering technologists and technicians are currently working in B.C. with over 4,000 job openings expected over the next 10 years.

Learn More:

The 2018 B.C. Labour Market Outlook:



Contact Information

Jennifer Fernandes, Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training
250 889-8370

Andrea Johnson, UNBC Communications Officer   |   250-960-5402