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This article was published 15/5/2015 (1849 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With a flick of dirt Thursday morning, Premier Greg Selinger fulfilled a 2011 election promise to build a new trades training facility at Red River College.
Selinger, Education Minister James Allum, interim RRC president David Rew and three students led a sod-turning ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre.
'There are a lot of new skills being developed in these professions. The challenge is to get people the skills they need to fill the jobs'‐ Premier Greg Selinger
The 100,000-square-foot facility -- the province is contributing $60 million toward it -- will be built at the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus and will be home to lab and shop space to train up to 1,000 students a year. The target opening is September 2017.
The new building, when opened, will boost capacity by about 25 per cent. Red River currently trains about 4,000 full-time students and apprentices in its construction-trades programs.
Selinger said the new centre will educate future carpenters, electricians and refrigeration technicians.
"There are a lot of people retiring, and there is an expansion in demand for these skills," he said, adding the centre will also specializes in manufacturing engineering.
"There are a lot of new skills being developed in these professions," the premier said. "The challenge is to get people the skills they need to fill the jobs."
Rew said construction will begin in earnest in June.
"There will be shops for the trades, but there will also be a technology piece that will include robotics," he said. "It will create a synergy between the trades and technology area. They will not be separate entities."
Selinger promoted the centre in the 2011 election campaign, and it's part of a long-term plan by the NDP government to increase the province's workforce some 75,000 by 2020.
The new centre will give RRC more breathing room as its current training areas are aging and filled to capacity.
The province's construction industry has already raised a red flag, warning more young workers are needed as the baby boom generation retires.
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Updated on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 8:40 AM CDT: Replaces photo, adds photo