Can the NDP boost the num­ber of trades­peo­ple?

Gov­ern­ment, in­dus­try and labour groups say it’s ur­gent to train the next gen­er­a­tion

StarMetro Vancouver - - NEWS - ALEX MCKEEN

The prov­ince’s in­dus­try train­ing au­thor­ity says op­por­tu­ni­ties for skilled trades trainees may soon be on the up in B.C., fol­low­ing four years of de­cline in ap­pren­tice­ship reg­is­tra­tions.

Ap­pren­tice­ships are ac­cred­ited train­ing pro­grams made up mostly of paid work ex­pe­ri­ence that lead to cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in skilled trades rang­ing from hairstyling to heavy equip­ment op­er­a­tion. The most re­cent Sta­tis­tics Canada data shows the num­ber of peo­ple en­rolled in ap­pren­tice­ships in B.C. hit a fouryear low in 2016. In the same time pe­riod, the prov­ince’s labour force grew by 107,000 peo­ple.

B.C. is also go­ing through a labour short­age in sec­tors Trainees at the BCIT iron work­ers train­ing cen­tre in June.

that use skilled trades, like con­struc­tion. Only 5,400 peo­ple who work in con­struc­tion were out of work in B.C. in Oc­to­ber, rep­re­sent­ing an un­em­ploy­ment rate less than 3 per cent.

In that con­text gov­ern­ment, in­dus­try and labour

groups have all said there’s an ur­gent need to train the next gen­er­a­tion of skilled trades­peo­ple.

Rod Bian­chini, COO of the In­dus­try Train­ing Au­thor­ity, which over­sees skilled trades train­ing in B.C., said it’s an “ex­cel­lent time” to start an ap­pren­tice­ship in B.C., and that there’s rea­son to be­lieve en­rol­ments could rise again, thanks in part to a provin­cial pol­icy per­tain­ing to pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Con­struc­tion jobs in high de­mand. Story at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

ALEX MCKEEN/STARMETRO VAN­COU­VER

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