Premier Christy Clark has promised to provide B.C. students with better training to compete in the technology sector.

Clark, who delivered a keynote speech Monday at a technology summit in Vancouver, pledged to provide all elementary and high school students with training in computer coding.

"Over the next three years every kindergarten to Grade 12 student will have — every one of them — kindergarten to Grade 12, will have the opportunity to learn the basics of coding and all those fundamental tech skills," Clark said.

The conference is the province's first major summit on technology and is meant to showcase the B.C. tech industry and look at ways to expand it.

Upgrade skills

Another plank in the province's strategy is to help workers in other sectors to upgrade their skills to help them move into the technology sector.

"We're investing $4.5 million for a technology stream for tuition, training, upgrading for people who are already in the workforce but want to move into tech," Clark said.

"I know you want to make sure British Columbians are first in line for jobs and that's what I want to do," Clark said. "It's way easier to make sure you're employing local talent than it is finding talent someplace else."

The summit, which runs Monday and Tuesday in Vancouver, is a first for the province and has attracted about 2,800 participants, including business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, public servants and students.

Companies from clean technology, mobile wireless, virtual reality and artificial intelligence to forestry, energy and transportation will participate.

Highlights will include holograms, 3D printing, electric cars and a 4D Portal exhibit, demonstrations by startups, and a coding camp.

The provincial government is hosting the event, not only to boost the tech industry's profile at home and globally, but to increase the industry's share in the B.C. economy.

with files from Farrah Merali