First-Ever B.C. Apprenticeship Recognition Month

The government of British Columbia has proclaimed November 2019 as the first-ever Apprenticeship Recognition Month, highlighting the value of apprentices and those who support their success. It is also a great occasion to acknowledge the contribution of skilled tradespeople to the community and the local economy.

As the shortage of skilled trades workers is affecting many businesses across multiple industries, apprenticeship plays a key role in ensuring a viable economic future. Nowadays, B.C. is home to over 100 trades, 51 of which are nationally recognized Red Seal trades that certify an individual to work across Canada.

“The government’s commitment [is] to increase the number of people entering skilled trades professions. We have also increased funding to the Industry Training Authority by $3.5 million to strengthen our apprenticeship program,” said Honourable Melanie Mark, ministry of advanced education, skills and training.

The ITA reports a steady increase of people entering skilled trades professions but demand still exceeds supply. The older generations of workers are preparing to retire and there are not enough young people ready to take over.

In an effort to promote employment and secure the future labour force for the automotive sector, the Automotive Retailers Association (ARA), British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), ICBC, and other stakeholders have begun discussing a program for attracting students to the industry. The ARA already helps to fund students and support their career ambitions in the automotive industry through its foundation.

The ARA also believes that trained and certified technicians will be able to find well-paying, long-term employment. For this reason, the ARA advocates for mandatory trades certifications.

Minister Mark speaks in favour of the ARA’s request for government support. “We want to ensure that trade workers are trained and certified to the highest level and that B.C. has the skilled trades workforce to meet labour demand.”