The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is pleased to announce that researcher Dr. Moein Manbachi of the Smart Microgrid Applied Research Team (SMART) has been awarded $230,000 in funding from Future Skills Centre. This funding will support the expansion of the Virtualized Experiential Learning Platform (VELP), developed to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in the green energy sector.

The rapid adoption of green energy technologies demands a workforce skilled in operating and managing these new systems. To address this need, BCIT, in collaboration with Siemens Canada and with $1,569,460 of funding from Future Skills Centre, initially developed the VELP between 2021 and 2023. This platform offers remote hands-on training, experiential learning through virtualization technologies, and a research platform focused on critical energy infrastructure and its cybersecurity. The VELP allows trainees to interact virtually and in real-time with utility-grade infrastructure, eliminating the need to be in a physical lab.

With this new phase of funding, the VELP project aims to further reduce access barriers to training in green energy infrastructure, specifically targeting remote communities, newcomers, and utility and industry professionals. By enhancing the VELP, this phase seeks to level the playing field for training and promote knowledge equity, thereby facilitating the green energy transition for diverse groups.

The VELP will be compared against market alternatives to evaluate its offerings and features. The project will analyze the needs of remote communities, offering personalized recommendations to ensure the platform aligns with their requirements. Additionally, utility and industry partners will test the VELP for efficiency, reliability, and applicability – contributing valuable feedback for further enhancements. The project will also emphasize knowledge mobilization activities, such as publishing research papers, running pilot sessions, and engaging with partners to share findings and promote best practices.


BCIT Applied Research

“We are very proud of Dr. Manbachi and thrilled by the continued support from Future Skills Centre,” says Dr. Kim Dotto, Dean, Applied Research and Centre for Applied Research and Innovation. “The VELP represents a transformative approach to skills development in the green energy sector. This funding will enable Dr. Manbachi to further develop this platform and reach even more trainees, breaking down traditional barriers and paving the way for better educational opportunities and a more sustainable future.”

Future Skills Centre

“We are excited to announce our continued support to enhance the Virtualized Experiential Learning Platform (VELP),” says Noel Baldwin, Executive Director, Future Skills Centre. “By advancing VELP, we are contributing to the development of a skilled workforce ready to meet the demands of the green energy sector, simultaneously fostering innovation and inclusion, and promoting a more sustainable future for all Canadians.”

About Future Skills Centre (FSC)

Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead. The Future Skills Centre was founded by a consortium whose members are Ryerson University, Blueprint ADE, and The Conference Board of Canada, and is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

About BCIT Applied Research

BCIT Applied Research creates innovative solutions to industry challenges and is critical to the growth and success of BC business. Applied research takes place throughout BCIT, from student-led projects to collaborative research programs involving faculty, students, and external partners. Applied research is integral to the Institute’s unique education model – enhancing the student experience through hands-on learning opportunities that solve real-world problems.