Funding boost of $230,000 helps prepare more students for in-demand STEM jobs

Rob Flemming
Rob Flemming

SECONDARY students with a passion for coding and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will now have more opportunities to expand their skillsets and participate in the Play to Learn program, thanks to a one-time $230,000 provincial government grant that will expand the program.

“B.C.’s thriving technology sector provides significant employment opportunities with tens of thousands of jobs that need to be filled,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming on Thursday. “Our government is committed to increasing training and learning opportunities to help prepare our students for these in-demand jobs. These new funds will help students in all corners of the province follow their passions and achieve their future career goals.”

Since Play to Learn launched in B.C. in 2016, the program has engaged over 6,000 students across 96 Lower Mainland schools. The expansion of the program is facilitated by DigiBC and provides students with the opportunity to learn the basics of math, technology, computer science and coding skills needed for video-game design and other technology-related and STEM career fields. These new funds will help expand opportunities to schools outside of Metro Vancouver.

“Using game play to engage youth with technology has proven results. We care about the technology gap, and about exposing B.C. youth to the excellent careers in the creative technology industry in our province,” said Brenda Bailey, Executive Director, DigiBC. “This program, supported by the Ministry of Education, allows us to bring awareness of and engagement with B.C.’s creative industries to more B.C. high school students.”

DigiBC – The Interactive and Digital Media Industry Association of British Columbia is a member-supported, non-profit organization engaged in using interactive technology to draw people into careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

The government says it is committed to providing support for students to learn coding in the classroom and parterning with innovative non-profits and tech companies to implement B.C.’s new school curriculum. It will provide new technology, lab equipment, learning material and professional development support for teachers.

 

Quick Facts:

* DigiBC (The Digital Media Association of B.C.) is based in Vancouver.
* It represents companies in the creative technology sector in B.C., which is made up of over 1,150 companies and 16,500 people.

* DigiBC members include large companies, such as Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Imageworks and Microsoft, as well as locally grown studios like Codename Entertainment, Phoenix Labs (Burnaby), Atomic Cartoons (Vancouver), Hyper Hippo (Kelowna) and Volcanic Gaming (Prince George).

* DigiBC’s mission is to promote, support and accelerate the growth of British Columbia’s interactive and digital media industry to the benefit of current and future generations.

* A recent study out of the U.K. shows that girls who play video games are three times more likely to enter a career in STEM: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/geek-girl-gamers-are-more-likely-study-science-and-technology-degrees

* The Government of B.C. is supporting Symbiosis – a provincewide STEAM learning initiative run by Science World – designed to provide equal and increased access to high quality education opportunities for B.C. youth. This program is the first program of its kind in Canada and is preparing B.C. youth with mentors, resources and technology to help prepare them for the STEAM-heavy job landscape of the future.