Increasing apprenticeship training seats, supports for trades workers

February 11, 2022 at 8:33 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

British Columbia is the only province in Canada without a compulsory trades credentialling system. Without a recognized credential, it can be challenging for workers to transition between projects and industries, resulting in lost wages for workers and their families, especially for people who face greater barriers to employment in the trades.

Skilled trades certification will support steady work and good-paying jobs for tradespeople by formally recognizing the skills of current and future workers. This will help workers continue working as the economy’s and industry’s needs shift over time. It will increase prestige for the trades and help attract more people to trades careers. Skilled trades certification will enhance the strong industry and safety training system, which includes partnerships with WorkSafeBC and Technical Safety BC.

The 10 trades initially identified for skilled trades certification were selected based on recommendations from a 16-member stakeholder advisory working group, which included representation from industry associations, labour groups, post-secondary institutions, Indigenous skills trainers and the Industry Training Authority.

The skilled trades certification trades are:

  • mechanical: gasfitter Class A and B, steamfitter/pipefitter, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, and sheet metal worker.
  • electrical: powerline technician, industrial electrician and electrician (construction).
  • automotive: heavy-duty equipment technician, automotive service technician and autobody and collision technician.

Once implemented, individuals in these 10 trades will be required to either be a certified journeyperson or a registered apprentice to work. People will have at least one year to either register as apprentices or challenge an exam to certify as a journeyperson, allowing uncertified workers time to access any additional supports they may need while continuing to work.

To ensure high standards of supervision, safety and quality training for apprentices, government will work with industry to introduce journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios for each of these 10 trades, as in every other province.

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