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Date: October 18, 2012
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BC's Research Universities Set Out An "Opportunity Agenda For BC"

Plan expands post-secondary opportunities to close skills gap and create new jobs

Victoria—The presidents of BC’s six research universities today released an “Opportunity Agenda for BC”—a practical plan to expand post-secondary opportunities for young people, close the skills gap, and create jobs throughout British Columbia.

Speaking to the BC Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Finance in Victoria, University of Victoria President David Turpin said that the Opportunity Agenda is about supporting students and meeting the competitive needs of BC’s economy now and for the future.

“Today's increasingly global economy requires that British Columbians have the right education and the right skills to be successful,” says Turpin. "That is what the Opportunity Agenda is about.”

The Opportunity Agenda for BC sets out three key pillars for action.

  1. A Space for Every Qualified Student
  2. A Guarantee for Students in Need
  3. A Commitment to Innovation and Jobs

“Eighty percent of the new jobs in BC require a post-secondary credential,” says George Iwama, Chair of the Research University Council of BC and President of UNBC. “And economic growth is created through innovation and new ideas. That’s why the Opportunity Agenda focuses on creating new funded student spaces, improving financial aid, and ensuring BC keeps investing in research and innovation.”

The Opportunity Agenda for BC calls for 11,000 new funded spaces in graduate, undergraduate, college and trade programs at a cost of approximately $130 million over four years; expansion of student financial aid to include grants, loan reductions, and graduate scholarships at a net cost of approximately $51 million; and the creation of an Innovate BC initiative to build on BC’s research and innovation potential, advance new opportunities and help drive economic growth though a commitment to stable funding and support for BC’s Knowledge Development Fund.

“Acting on these priorities will help put a post-secondary education within reach of all qualified and willing British Columbians,” says Iwama. “In today’s economy, where people and knowledge are British Columbia’s most important assets, post-secondary education is the best investment we can make in our future.”
 

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Media contacts:

To arrange interviews with RUCBC presidents: Bruce Kilpatrick (UVic Communications) at (o) 250-721-7638, (c) 250-920-6413 or abk@uvic.ca

RUCBC’s full submission to the Finance Committee www.rucbc.ca

Full summary of the Opportunity Agenda www.rucbc.ca
 


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