NORTH VANCOUVER – March 21-25 marks Technology Skills Appreciation Week in B.C., which recognizes the importance of tech skills and the contributions of the companies and workers who use technology every day to grow our economy.

To commemorate the week, North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite visited Aircover Inflatables, a company that started out on the North Shore supplying the local film industry with inflatable screens for visual effects. While on a tour of the company’s headquarters, MLA Thornthwaite learned about their innovative products and discussed how the recently released #BCTECH Strategy will make it easier for them to access new markets, deepen their talent pool, and improve access to capital—further fuelling their success.

In January, the B.C. government released the #BCTECH Strategy, which supports the continued growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector. The multi-year strategy focuses on three key pillars: access to capital for promising companies, talent development and market access. It provides:

  • A $100-million BC Tech Fund to give entrepreneurs and tech start-ups in every corner of B.C. the opportunity to access the capital they need to grow.
  •  Initiatives to deepen the technology talent pool by aligning training with the needs of employers across B.C.
  • Strategies to make it easier for businesses to find the information and services they need to get their goods and services to new markets, which will drive innovation and productivity across the province.

“Aircover Inflatables’ the ‘Airwall’ began with the desire to build a safer, greener, cost-efficient and more versatile means of filming the large outdoor VXF movies that seem to love shooting in Vancouver—Godzilla, Tomorrowland, Monster Trucks, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, to name just a few,” said Steve Smith, President of Aircover Inflatables Inc. “We owe so much of our success to B.C. for nurturing and supporting the growing film industry, helping to make it possible for four film technicians (grips), Dave McIntosh, Mike Kirilenko, Mike Branham and Steve Smith, who could even dream of winning an award for their work, much less, an Academy Award. We hope that our success will encourage others to keep solving problems and coming up with new ideas that continue to advance the technology in our industry. Aircover is in its infancy. With the support of the community the potential for growth is exciting. Our employee base will expand and our new innovations will be realized. We are committed to supporting other technicians in the industry and giving them the chance and tools to express and develop their ideas and win their own Academy Award.”

Technology Skills Appreciation Week supports the goal of the #BCTECH Strategy and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint of providing British Columbians with the information, skills and training they need for the wide range of jobs available in B.C., while strengthening the development of talent to keep our economy strong, diverse and growing.

Quick Facts:

  • The technology sector directly employs more than 86,000 people, and wages for those jobs are 60% higher than B.C.’s industrial average.
  •  B.C.’s technology sector is growing faster than the overall economy. In 2013, it grew at a rate of 4.7%, higher than the 3.2% growth observed in the provincial economy.
  • In 2013, the technology sector added $13.9 billion to B.C.’s GDP.
  • B.C.’s 9,000 technology companies generated $23.3 billion in revenue in 2013.
  • New technology companies are emerging at increasing rates throughout the province. In 2013, there was an addition of more than 700 new technology companies in B.C., an increase of 8% over the prior year.
  • We are expecting almost one million job openings in B.C. by 2024 due to retirements and economic growth. The majority of these jobs will require some sort of post-secondary education or trades training.
  • Our government invests more than $7.5 billion in education and training each year from early learning programs for the youngest British Columbians all the way through to post-graduate education.
  • Over the next 10 years, our government will redirect $3 billion of our training investment to focus on skills and programs for in-demand jobs to better meet emerging labour market needs.

Learn More:

#BCTECH Strategy: www.bctechstrategy.ca
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint/Learn-about-Blueprint.aspx
Aircover Inflatables: http://aircover.ca/