Over the next decade, our province is going to need more than 85,000 new skilled tradespeople to build and maintain the services and infrastructure British Columbians rely on every day.
Now, more than ever, we need to attract and retain people from all walks of life to work in the trades – and we can do this by providing greater access to recognized skills training in key trades.
From the electrician working in your local hospital to the auto mechanic replacing the brakes on your car, British Columbians expect that the trades workers they trust are skilled and certified.
I’ve spoken with many British Columbians who are surprised to learn that some trades workers are not required to be certified. In 2003, the previous government axed this requirement, making B.C. the only province in the country without skilled trades certification. That decision devalued the amazing work tradespeople do to build our province and discouraged people from entering the trades – fuelling the labour shortages we’re seeing today.
Many other professionals have a recognized credential that reflects their training and expertise – a nursing degree or a teaching certificate, for instance. Without such recognition, it can be hard for tradespeople to get hired for their next jobs, which can mean lost wages for workers and their families. Uncertified workers also tend to be paid less and are often the first to be let go when times are tough. This is particularly concerning as some of our most vulnerable citizens are commonly the workers who are uncertified – including Indigenous Peoples, immigrants, women and youth.
We believe that tradespeople and the people who count on their work deserve better. That’s why we’re launching a new made-in-B.C. skilled-trades certification system to lay the foundation for steady work and good-paying jobs for tradespeople and to encourage more people to choose a career in the trades while helping employers access the skilled workers they need.
Our government is working to remove barriers so more people can get trained through opportunities like the B.C. Access Grant, the Youth Work in Trades scholarship program, and tuition-free Adult Basic Education. We are also investing more to increase apprenticeship training spaces for in-demand trades.
There has never been a better time to become a tradesperson in our province.
Implementation of skilled trades certification will start with just 10 trades in electrical, mechanical and automotive trades. Introduced gradually starting in 2023, this will allow each trade at least a one-year transition period so that people can challenge an exam or register as an apprentice.
It’s important that people working in the trades know that skilled-trades certification is not a new or replacement credential. If you are already a certified Red Seal tradesperson or a registered apprentice, nothing will change. Also, this change does not replace or duplicate existing Technical Safety BC regulations; it will complement B.C.’s already strong health and safety legislation. It will also give people who have been working in their trades for a long time opportunities to challenge exams and it will allow new students to earn a steady paycheque as they learn on the job.
Careers in the trades are noble, and it's time that tradespeople were recognized for their vital skills.
To learn more, visit: http://www.itabc.ca