Emphasize “STEM” Subjects in Schools, Urge BC Technologists
October 3rd 2013 at 10:00 AM
NEWS RELEASE, Thursday October 3, 2013

The BC Government is being pressed to head off workforce shortages of technology professionals, by building a BC Science and Technology Culture stressing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – so-called “STEM” subjects - in K-12.

“Everyone understands the importance of university education and trades training.  But BC has not yet fully embraced a connection between education and career opportunities in applied science and engineering technology,” presenter John Leech told the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services today in Courtenay.  “ASTTBC applauds government for recently adding technical skillsin addition to trades training as a priority in the BC Jobs Plan,”said the Executive Director of the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, the 9 th largest professional association in BC with over 10,000 members.

The Executive Director describes technology professionals as “invisible glue that keeps society’s systems functioning.  Either as part of teams or independently, ASTTBC Technologists, Technicians and Technical Specialists design, construct, inspect, test, maintain and manage most of the world around us including health care and other equipment, computers and telecommunications, water and wastewater systems, environment, buildings, electrical and gas distribution and road systems.”

‘Specialty Technician / Technologist’ in the high tech sector was listed in 2012 by the BC Technology Industries Association as the most important position companies needed to fill according to Leech. “A global 2102 survey found the occupations most difficult to fill were 1) Skilled Trades Workers;  2) Engineers;  3) Sales Representatives - many of these technical;  4) Technicians including ‘Technologists’;  and 5) IT Staff (many are technologists and technicians).  In Canada, Engineers and Technicians/Technologists ranked 2 and 5 respectively – and throughout the Americas the top two occupational priorities being sought were Engineers and Technicians.”

Leech observes that while new technology-rich careers are constantly appearing, even existing jobs in applied science technology face a wave of ‘early generation’ technologist retirements.  “Students and their parents need to know where tomorrow’s most valued careers will be found!  Every workplace and job in BC already depends on technologies.  BC urgently needs to get more boys and girls from K to 12 engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math courses.” 

EDITORS – for further comment call John Leech at (604) 230.5827