VANCOUVER — The Province of B.C. has set aside a whole week in November to celebrate its apprentices and remind residents the important role they will play in the province’s future.
Apprenticeship Recognition Week runs until Nov. 10.
“Apprentices are the future of trades in B.C. and we’re grateful for the thousands of apprentices that help build, make and maintain the province we call home,” said Shelley Gray, interim CEO, Industry Training Authority (ITA), in a release. “Every day, apprentices work with their head, heart and hands to make sure the roads are safe for travel, homes have power and heat and the culinary scene in B.C. is world class. So this week, for Apprenticeship Recognition Week, we thank and applaud the hard work of apprentices throughout the province.”
According to the release, an apprenticeship in a skilled trade is an important entry point to a trades career. A key element of apprenticeship is on-the-job training. About 80 per cent is on the job, while 20 per cent is technical learning in the classroom.
“An apprenticeship can open the door to lots of exciting career opportunities in a range of sectors,” said Shaelyn Hayes, a welder apprentice. “For me, I’m pursuing a career as a welder. I’m on track to achieving my Red Seal certification before the age of 22 in a trade that I love and am very passionate about.”
The province anticipates there will be roughly 71,000 job openings in the skilled trades over the next decade. To try and meet demand, programs have been designed to train Indigenous youth and reach out to women.
In B.C. there are more than 35,000 adult apprentices, over 5,000 youth program participants and over 4,000 foundation students in B.C. Only nine per cent of apprentices are women and seven per cent are Indigenous.
The province has also been working to equip schools with facilities and tools to train trades students and establish apprenticeship ratios.
This year marks B.C.’s fourth annual Apprenticeship Recognition Week.