Times Colonist

Constructi­on workers needed — urgently

Wanted: 277,000 constructi­on workers by 2027.

- Bcbuilding­trades.org

According to BuildForce Canada, which monitors trends in the constructi­on sector and provides labour market intelligen­ce to industry, as many as 277,000 new constructi­on workers will be needed this decade alone to meet labour requiremen­ts and counter rising retirement rates.

BuildForce recommends stepping up recruitmen­t efforts aimed at new Canadians, women and Indigenous workers to help manage the shortage.

“Labour Day and the start of September is a perfect time for young people to start thinking about career options,” said Brynn Bourke, interim executive director of the BC Building Trades. “A career in the skilled trades is wellpaid and in demand.”

And all trades are not the same. From electricia­n to carpenter, to plumber to insulator, to heavy equipment operator, there are options for every interest and aptitude. The skilled trades shortage also means there will be no shortage of work in the coming years.

In fact, current projects being built under the province’s Community Benefits Agreement constructi­on framework mean jobs and training are prioritize­d for apprentice­s, women in the trades, Indigenous workers, and local residents. These projects include the widening of Highway 1, the Pattullo Bridge Replacemen­t, the Broadway SkyTrain and — on the Island — the new Cowichan District Hospital Replacemen­t. The aim is to have 25 per cent apprentice­s on these projects, which will help create a steady workforce for the future.

“That means a significan­t number of workers who are new to the trades will have an opportunit­y to build their province, and the skills they learn will help secure their future in the industry long after the ribbon has been cut marking the completion of each project,” said Bourke.

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