The local manufacturing sector is characterized by a diversity of firms specializing in food and beverage, sawmilling and wood processing, paper manufacturing, fabricated metal production, machinery manufacturing, and furniture.
Collectively, these six manufacturing categories represent over two-thirds of local firms. The manufacturing sector in Vernon and the North Okanagan has approximately 100 firms and employs over 1,500 people. The sector accounts for over 9% of Vernon’s workforce and 11% of the regional workforce.
The number and diversity of manufacturers has attracted a skilled workforce with portable skills desirable for many manufacturing activities. Approximately 14% of people aged 25 to 64 have a trades certificate or diploma, or are participating in an apprenticeship program – higher than the provincial average.
Proximity to key export markets and growth within the local markets are anticipated to fuel expansion in the local manufacturing sector over the next decade. Growth is anticipated to come from the expansion of existing firms as well as the arrival of new firms. Local sectors, such as fabricated metal manufacturing, non-metallic mineral manufacturing, transportation equipment manufacturing, plastics and rubber products, and beverages are expected to lead this growth. In addition, the Vernon Airport is seeing the emergence of an aviation manufacturing and maintenance cluster. Okanagan College’s aircraft maintenance engineer training facility at Vernon Airport could provide additional synergies for new business opportunities.