The provincial government is providing a funding boost to a number of organizations that support people entering the trades and help them to complete their apprenticeships.

The $5-million investment, announced Thursday (July 6), supports six B.C. organizations specializing in attracting workers into the skilled trades and supporting them during their pre-apprentice training and apprenticeships. 

The organizations include the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS), BC Centre for Women in the Trades (BCCWITT), Canadian Home Builders Association of BC (CHBA BC), Construction Foundation of BC (CFBC), SkillPlan, and Skills Canada BC. The province said in a press release that the new funding is a first step in the creation of a strong workforce. 

“This funding is about making sure that B.C. is training and supporting the next generation of apprentices and journey people,” said Andrew Mercier, provincial minister of state for workforce development. “By investing in apprenticeships today, our government is taking action to ensure a strong workforce is trained and ready to build the homes and infrastructure that British Columbians depend on.”

The province noted in its release that the investment will allow for the removal of barriers to enter the trades or complete apprenticeships for women, Indigenous Peoples and other under-represented groups, with new and enhanced programming and resources for equity-serving groups, anti-racism and other inclusivity-based workplace training programs, and student bursaries.

The Electrical Joint Training Committee brings together union leadership and electrical contractors to place B.C. apprentices with the province’s leading electricians.  

“I was at a point in my life where I felt lost and down, struggling with no sense of direction,” said Mathew Sheena, an EJTC apprentice. “But then, I crossed paths with ACCESS and joined the entry-level trades training program at the EJTC. These programs turned my life around, giving me back control over my future, as well as a solid career and big dreams.” 

There are more than 80 skilled trade occupations available to those looking to explore the field, with more than half with Red Seal endorsements. In-demand skilled trades occupations in B.C. include cooks, automotive service technicians, and electricians. The province said it expects 83,000 job openings for tradespeople over the next 10 years.

Locally, the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology offers a number of trades programs and opportunities for placements and apprenticeships. The post-secondary school offers programs such as automotive tech, carpentry, culinary arts, electrical studies, plumbing and piping, residential construction, and welding.

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