Support for tech seats to advance new SFU program in Sustainable Energy Engineering
By Emma Keeler-Dugas
Simon Fraser University will benefit from today’s provincial government announcement of 2,900 tech-related seats coming to B.C.’s post-secondary institutions.
Melanie Mark, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, visited SFU Surrey’s campus where she formally announced the funding.
“We’re helping students in British Columbia by improving access to education with thousands more spaces that include degree, diploma and certificate programs,” said Mark. “Our vibrant tech sector supports good paying jobs, like computer programmers, engineers and information system analysts. We are investing millions of dollars in the future creators of an innovative, strong and sustainable 21st century economy.”
The spaces will help to advance programming as part of the first phase of SFU’s Surrey campus expansion. The programming will be housed in a new building currently under construction adjacent to the present campus and set to open in 2019.
“This important investment will enable Simon Fraser University and other post-secondary institutions to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, and that British Columbia requires to build a strong, sustainable economy,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. “The support provided to SFU, specifically, will create a program that will help position B.C. as a global leader in clean-tech and sustainable energy.”
Subject to Ministry approval, Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) will be a new bachelor’s degree program offered by the Faculty of Applied Sciences and is the first program of its kind in Western Canada. The program will build on SFU’s current research strengths in fuel cell technologies, alternative energy and big data analytics, and help meet the province’s growing demand for cleantech professionals.
The program will support B.C.’s labour market needs and expand research capacity to diversify and address challenges in several industry segments including green building design and construction, clean transportation technology, energy efficiency, conservation, and demand-side management.
SFU’s focus on clean technology is the first phase of a three-phase academic expansion plan proposed by SFU for the Surrey campus. Future programs are being planned that focus on health systems innovation and creative technologies.
Additional spaces were also announced for UBC, BCIT, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
At the announcement, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering student XingLu Wang shared how this announcement will impact him and his fellow students: “It’s exciting to think that this announcement today is going to make opportunities for students like us that much more possible, and help future students prepare to contribute to, and succeed in, this industry.”