Thomson: B.C. is ready for its close-up thanks to more movie jobs

B.C.’s motion picture industry supports approximately 20,000 direct and indirect quality jobs, many of them right here in the Okanagan.

It’s an exciting time to be exploring career options in Kelowna.

From the agrifood production we’re known for, to the tech sector that’s taking off—there’s a variety of industries creating good, family-supporting jobs right here in our community.

Two in particular were in the spotlight this week—Kelowna’s screen-based entertainment industry, and the skilled trades sector.

The B.C. government proclaimed July 27 as Screen in B.C. Day, celebrating the wide range of screen-based entertainment that is produced in our province.

This includes physical production, post production, VFX and animation, interactive games, as well as original content by B.C.-based production companies for world markets.

I joined my colleague, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, in a regional tour hosted by the Okanagan Film Commission.

We visited Bardel Animation, Yeti farm Creative and The Film Factory Creative House, meeting some of the talented faces and voices behind those operations.

Regional film offices receive operational funding from the government through Creative BC’s Regional Film Funding Program, which helps support the growth of the film and television industry throughout B.C.

For the current fiscal year, Creative BC will contribute $30,000 to the Okanagan Film Commission.

British Columbia’s motion picture industry supports approximately 20,000 direct and indirect quality jobs, many of them right here in the Okanagan.

This is why it’s so important that we keep supporting the screen production industries, which in turn continue to create new opportunities for future generations.

Our competitive tax credits certainly help, but the government has also delivered on a promise to open a B.C. Film and Television Office in Los Angeles to further enhance the B.C. industry’s market presence in the region.

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Creativity is also employed by the many skilled trade workers in our province, who take heavy-duty tools and machinery to rugged materials and make beautiful, useful things of them.

From the buildings we work in, to the roads we travel, to the places we call home—a tradesperson has played an important role in its creation.

Norm Letnick and I were pleased to welcome Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson to the area this week, to tour the new $33 million Okanagan College trades complex that will open next year.

It’s a thrill to watch this facility take shape in our community.

The renovated and expanded complex will feature much-needed space for 2,400 students per year to study and will be home to a range of trades programs, such as electrical, plumbing and welding.

With the significant investments we’ve also made in trades seats and equipment, students can be assured they are getting the best possible training for a smooth transition into the workforce.

We want B.C. students to be first in line for the one million jobs that we’re expecting to open up by 2022, and we’re giving them the “tools of the trade” to achieve just that.

So, whether it’s clicking a mouse or fixing a house, the future looks bright for Kelowna students.

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