With 85,000 new skilled-trades job openings expected through 2031, the Province is investing in trades education and support for workers.
Technical training in more than 70 trades programs is offered at 15 public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C., as well as non-public post-secondary institutions.
The Province continues to work with employers, industry, training providers and communities to design and implement initiatives and policies that contribute to eliminating racism, sexism, bullying and harassment in the skilled trades. This will promote a trades-training system that is welcoming and inclusive of women, Indigenous Peoples, youth and other under-represented groups.
Implementing skilled trades certification:
- In March 2022, the Province passed the Skilled Trades BC Act to lay the foundation for addressing labour shortages and supporting and recognizing the crucial work that skilled tradespeople do in British Columbia.
- Skilled trades certification will require people to register as an apprentice or be a certified journeyperson to work in one of the 10 initial mechanical, electrical and automotive trades. It will increase prestige in the trades by recognizing trades workers’ in-demand skills and experience, pave the way for greater steady employment opportunities and higher wages, and attract more people to the trades.
- Certification for these initial trades will be implemented in phases between 2022 and 2024.
- The new legislation will replace the Industry Training Authority Act and transform the Industry Training Authority (ITA) into SkilledTradesBC, the modernized Crown agency responsible for skilled trades training in British Columbia.
- The renewed focus of SkilledTradesBC reflects the expanded responsibilities associated with skilled trades certification, and a new focus on promoting and supporting apprentices and trainees throughout their training journey.
- In February 2022, the Province provided $5 million to the ITA to address waiting lists for priority trades programs. The funding will support apprentices re-entering, upgrading, or completing apprenticeship training in the mechanical, electrical and automotive trades included in skilled trades certification.
- The ITA funds approximately 27,000 apprenticeship and foundation training seats annually at public and private institutions.
- To further support tradespeople and employer sponsors in the certification process, the ITA is hiring five additional apprenticeship advisors (one in Kelowna North, one in the southern Interior and three on the Lower Mainland) for a total of 25 advisors working throughout the province. Apprenticeship advisors provide guidance to apprentices and employer sponsors on processes and policies relating to apprenticeship, and they help build community knowledge and awareness of B.C.’s apprenticeship system.
Investing in trades training:
- Since 2017, the B.C. government has provided $84.9 million to build or upgrade trades training facilities at post-secondary institutions and provided $19.4 million to purchase upgraded technology and trades equipment.
Expanding training for under-represented groups:
- Since 2019, the ITA has received $10 million annually in Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to deliver pre-apprenticeship trades training programs to women, Indigenous Peoples and other equity-seeking groups to reduce barriers and secure employment in the trades. The programs provide a range of individualized and group services and supports, hands-on trades exploration training and industry certification training.
- These programs have supported 3,627 participants to gain skills and connections to jobs in the trades, with a focus on those under-represented in trades.
- In 2020-21 and2021-22, the ITA received an additional $9.5 million in WDA funding to support the StrongerBC economic recovery plan and deliver additional services and supports for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on youth, equity-seeking groups and persons with disabilities.
- The WDA-funded Community Workforce Response Grant provides funding for communities and sectors to support in-demand skills training, including trades-related training. In 2022-23, $2.7 million supported communities and sectors to deliver 15 trades-related projects to 178 participants.