The Industry Training Authority (ITA) unveiled its Action Plan for LNG Trades Training, laying out steps it has already taken and proposed actions still being shaped.
According to the ITA, it is a strategic plan to build the workforce for B.C.’s anticipated LNG sector with a focus on the northern regions of the province.
"It’s to ensure we have the right trades, with the right training, in the right areas at the right time," said ITA CEO Gary Herman.
The plan contains 16 actions.
Eight are confirmed (including six in progress) and eight are in the proposal stage.
Some aspects of the plan that the ITA has already started include: establishing an LNG advisory group; making construction craft workers a Red Seal trade; developing construction craft worker programs to target first nations individuals; increase youth participation in high-demand trades; hiring 11 more apprenticeship advisors; and establishing provincial/interprovincial occupational standards for service jobs.
Herman said the ITA determined these were concrete actions that needed to take place first.
Some of the proposed actions include: building mobile trades training units for the northwest; fund pilot project for on-site technical apprentice training; developing a blue seal endorsement program for upgrading Red Seal journeypersons; and leverage the Canada-B.C. job grant to hire apprentices.
Herman said the plan will continue to evolve with the ITA receiving input from industry on the confirmed actions, and consulting with LNG stakeholders on developing proposed actions in conjunction with assessing available resources.
"One of the things we are doing is making sure we are listening to industry more effectively," he said.
"ITA is here to serve industry."
According to the authority, the latest data shows that a scenario with five LNG plants would see a requirement of more than 20,000 trade workers by 2018. Currently there are 18 LNG projects proposed.
This includes high-demand scenarios for construction labourers (including craft workers), steamfitters, pipefitters, sprinkler system installers, gasfitters, industrial electricians, millwrights, machinists and welders.
Herman emphasized that one of the goals of the plan is to put British Columbians, including Aboriginal people, women and new Canadians first in line for these jobs.
Herman said he couldn’t comment on the status of any proposed LNG projects, but said he’s heard that final investment could be made in the next two years.
Jim Blancard, a construction safety officer with Construction Specialized Workers Union 1611, was on hand for the announcement in Vancouver. He was excited about the craft worker Red Seal designation and the mobility it creates.
"I like it that they are asking us to stay in B.C. I just hope that they provide us with the jobs and the work so that we can stay," he said.