The fast-growing British Columbia economy is rapidly approaching a make-or-break moment.
The good news is the province is on the brink of a major development boom, fuelled by billions of dollars in new projects in the oil and gas, mining, construction, shipbuilding and transportation sectors. There is $2.9-billion worth of capital projects currently underway in B.C. and another $6.2-billion of activity forecasted over the next five years.
The challenge? The province is facing a looming shortage of skilled tradespeople as early as next year, as veteran workers begin to retire and not enough skilled workers are available to fill their jobs. Current trends suggest the province will face a skilled labour shortage of at least 160,000 by 2015.
B.C. can quickly close this gap by increasing apprenticeship opportunities for skilled tradespeople. The Industry Training Authority (ITA), a provincial crown agency responsible for overseeing the apprenticeship system in B.C., is working with industry, training providers, labour and government to ensure there are enough trained workers with the right sets of skills.
For employers, sponsoring and developing skilled workers through apprenticeship provides a bottom-line payoff and supplies a pool of highly-trainedtradespeople to meet company needs.