VICTORIA – The Government of Canada is putting $21 million in funding towards the British Columbia Construction Association’s (BCCA) Construction Industry Apprenticeship Program project through the federal Apprenticeship Service.
Employment and Social Development Canada’s Apprenticeship Service supports employers hiring new first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal Trades. An employer with fewer than 500 employees in B.C.’s construction industry can receive financial incentives for hiring new employees or registering existing ones as first-year apprentices, a BCCA release said.
The project will provide financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in B.C. to hire a minimum of 2,100 first-year apprentices in eligible Red Seal trades over the next two years, including a minimum 500 first-year apprentices from underrepresented groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous and racialized people.
“The British Columbia Construction Association is committed to making sure that these financial incentives and recruitment supports get out to small and medium employers across B.C.’s construction industry. This is a time of significant cost increases, supply chain disruption and project risk, and many contractors will appreciate the assistance as they work hard to attract and retain talent,” BCCA president Chris Atchison said in a statement.
Employment and Social Development Canada’s Apprenticeship Service supports employers hiring new first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal Trades and gets those apprentices hands-on experience.
Organizations funded under the Apprenticeship Service will distribute financial incentives to SMEs and will provide additional supports, such as assistance navigating the apprenticeship system. They will also develop training for SMEs to help them onboard apprentices and create welcoming and inclusive workplaces. To help Canadians facing barriers to a career in the skilled trades, the incentives are doubled for SMEs that hire from equity-deserving groups, the Employment and Social Development Canada release stated.
Employers can spend the incentives at their discretion, the BCCA release said, citing examples such as hiring bonuses, gear and work apparel, child care costs, offsetting business taxes, offsetting costs of mandatory sick leave, training and mentoring, raises for field or office staff, safety equipment or new technology.
The BCCA will also provide culture training through its Builders Code program along with mentorship through its Building Builders Initiative.
According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, to meet the demand for skilled journeypersons in Red Seal trades an average of approximately 75,000 new apprentices will need to be hired per year over the next five years. The top trades most at risk of not meeting the demand include welder, industrial mechanic (millwright), bricklayer, boilermaker, cook and hairstylist, the release added.
BuildForce Canada has previously stated the construction industry requires 309,000 new workers over the next decade due predominantly to the expected retirement of 259,1000 workers.
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