New act supports good trades jobs, economic recovery (

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Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

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What people are saying about the new Skilled Trades BC Act

Cindy Oliver, board chair, Industry Training Authority –

“After lots of consultation and hard work, I am excited for our organization to become SkilledTradesBC and to continue our work with government to ensure that apprentices and training partners have the supports they need so that anyone interested in being a tradesperson can take advantage of the 85,000 anticipated job openings over the next 10 years. The future is bright for a career in the trades and Skilled Trades Certification will help more workers standardize their skills at a high level, ensuring that the best trained will be helping build B.C.’s economy into the future.”

Laird Cronk, president, BC Federation of Labour –

“Skilled trades certification means B.C. can count on a workforce with the latest technical training and practical, on-the-job mentorship. It means our province’s businesses can adapt and thrive in the new economy for decades to come, because they know they’ll be able to find the workers with the skills they need. And for certified workers, it means a lot more than just any job — it means family-supporting, community-building careers.”

Adrian Scovell, president and CEO, Automotive Retailers Association –

“There are many highly skilled automotive tradespeople in British Columbia, and they support changes in legislation with a system to ensure standards are maintained. A Skilled Trades Certification system, including a process to ensure standards are met, will restore respect for trades, put skilled back in skilled trades, and with it respect for skilled tradespeople.”

Al Phillips, president, BC Building Trades –

“Skilled trades certification will ensure our job sites have quality trained, experienced and professional tradespeople building our province’s vital infrastructure. With many critical projects on the horizon, Red Seal journeypersons and sponsored apprentices are the keys to ensuring this infrastructure will be built safely and competently. Learning a skilled trade does not just happen overnight. It takes years of classroom and on-the-job training, which can only be achieved through a formal apprenticeship program. Skilled Trades Certification and its enforcement will support this training and help build a better workforce for our province.”

Skilled trades certification in B.C.

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, 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.

Twenty-five apprenticeship advisors will help workers register to get certified and aid them with accessing support provided by the government, including financial assistance for child-care, lost wages, travel and living expenses.