Liberals say they will create an additional 1,000 new STEM grads across the province by 2022

Christy Clark

PREMIER Christy Clark and STEMCELL Technologies’s Chief Scientific Officer Terry Thomas at Canada’s largest biotech company on Monday encouraged more women to consider careers in tech.

“From video games to life sciences, tech is thriving in British Columbia,” said Clark. “With jobs that pay significantly better than average and make a real difference in the world, there’s never been a better time for young women to consider a career in tech.”

Founded in 1993, STEMCELL Technologies develops specialty cell culture media, cell isolation systems and accessory products for life science research – and reinvests all profits into developing products to better support the international research community.

Fifty-three per cent of all post-secondary students in B.C. are women – but only 32 per cent of graduates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are women. To encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM, the BC Liberal government recently invested $500,000 in scholarships through the Irving K. Barber Society to encourage women to pursue education that aligns with the needs of B.C.’s growing tech sector.

There’s never been a better time to consider a career in tech. The sector employs more than 106,000 British Columbians, making wages 75 per cent higher than average, with five consecutive years of employment growth.

One of the keys to maintaining that growth is ensuring BC’s tech firms have access to a deep pool of local talent. That’s why, the Liberals said, the provincial government has required all post-secondary institutions to include co-op programs for new technology degrees, introduced coding in grades 6 to 9, and provided training for 1,350 new and existing employees through the Canada-BC Jobs Grant.

If re-elected, the Liberals said they will:

  • Create an additional 1,000 new STEM grads across the province by 2022. Once those 1,000 have completed their fourth year, we will expand by another 1,000.
  • Double the number of placements in the BC Tech co-op grants program to train post-secondary students by 2022.
  • Increase the number of placements in the MITACS internship program from 500 to 800 annually by 2020.
  • Invest an additional $10 million in life science research chairs and post-graduate fellows, on top of the $10 million for the BC Science and Technology Research Chairs Program.
  • Create new STEM schools to connect high schools with post-secondary programs that support tech related industries.
  • Work with the First Nations Technology Council on their program Bridging to Technology.

The Liberals claimed that BC NDP and BC Greens have no concrete plan to help grow the tech sector, and that their proposed tax hikes would devastate the sector.