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Governments of Canada and British Columbia Celebrate Marine Training Centre Opening

ESQUIMALT, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/22/13 -- Today, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD), joined provincial and local representatives to officially open the Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Centre (IMTARC).

"We recognize that the shipbuilding and marine industry in British Columbia is set to grow significantly in the coming years and that this coordinated training centre will play an integral part in positioning B.C. for success," said Minister Yelich. "Our Government's investment in IMTARC is an important part of Western Canada's Shipbuilding Action Plan."

Total economic activity in B.C.'s shipbuilding industry is expected to grow from $450 million to $1.4 billion, with the number of jobs increasing from 3,000 to 5,000. To capitalize on these opportunities the Harper Government developed Western Canada's Shipbuilding Action Plan, and provided more than $1 million for the Resource Training Organization to construct the new marine training centre in Esquimalt. IMTARC will ensure the sustainability of BC's shipbuilding and repair industry by offering entry-level training, working with post-secondary institutions and apprenticeship programs, and helping businesses adopt new technologies and processes.

Partners such as Seaspan, BC Ferries, Babcock Canada, Thales Canada, and Lockheed Martin Canada have also providing funding for IMTARC, while the Province of British Columbia provided a $550,000 investment for training program development.

"A new wave of economic growth, stimulated by the shipbuilding contract, will result in a strong future for B.C.'s shipbuilding sector," said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong. "The new marine centre will provide training programs to help ensure that our province has a skilled workforce to fill the many opportunities coming our way."

"Working with our industry stakeholders, Western Economic Diversification and the Province of BC, we have been able to anticipate the needs for the upcoming shipbuilding and repair industry skills gap that is evident. Resource Training Organization (RTO) has been working diligently to ensure the IMTARC training facility is in place and will aid in the education and competitiveness of the industry's workforce in the near future" said Doug MacLaren, CEO, RTO. "Located near Seaspan's Victoria shipyards and the Esquimalt Graving Dock, the facility provides a strategic location to tie in education close to an industry setting".

"IMTARC will provide an important part of the infrastructure and approach that will be necessary to ensure that the shipbuilding and repair industry enhances its productivity and competitiveness by sustaining and growing a qualified and highly skilled workforce, and capitalizing on improved technologies, processes and materials." said Alex Rueben, Executive Director for IMTARC. "I am thrilled to have been involved from the beginning stages of this initiative all the way through to this opening event. I look forward to seeing the classroom seats filled, and seeing the full evolution of the Centre come to fruition."

Western Canada's Shipbuilding Action Plan, launched in February 2012, supports western Canadian companies in taking advantage of new business opportunities by bringing together key stakeholders involved with the Government of Canada's Federal Fleet Renewal Initiative and western Canadian businesses.

Since 2006, the Harper Government, through WD, has been investing in job-creating small- and medium-sized enterprises, aerospace, marine and defence industries, and supporting innovative entrepreneurs in pursuing emerging markets. By continuing to promote new economic opportunities, WD is helping to create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.

Businesses or individuals can register online on the WD website to receive updated information related to future departmental shipbuilding activities and events.

Subscribe to news releases and keep up-to-date on the latest from WD.

A stronger West. A stronger Canada.

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