Training & Education
BC provides ITA with $5 million to increase apprenticeship training seats
By Anthony Capkun
February 18, 2022 – British Columbia has provided $5 million to the Industry Training Authority (ITA) so that more trades workers can start an apprenticeship or upgrade their skills at recognized post-secondary and trades training providers across the province.
ITA leads and coordinates BC’s skilled trades system. It funds approximately 27,000 apprenticeship and foundation training seats annually.
“Approximately 85,000 additional job openings are expected in the trades in BC by 2031,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “We are committed to ensuring that people starting a career in the trades—or looking to certify—have the supports they need to continue to get the well-paying job of their dreams as they contribute to a stronger BC.”
The funding will support apprentices re-entering or completing apprenticeship training in the mechanical, electrical and automotive trades included in skilled trades certification.
Skilled trades certification legislation, which will update the Industry Training Authority Act, will be introduced to the legislative assembly during the spring session. (READ MORE about certification further down.)
“We’re delighted to work with government and training providers to facilitate funding that will directly increase training program seats and supports, which will allow more people to enter trades training and achieve certification,” said Shelley Gray, CEO, ITA.
To further support tradespeople and employer sponsors in the certification process, ITA is hiring an additional five apprenticeship advisors (Kelowna North, Southern Interior, and three in the Lower Mainland) for a total of 25 advisors throughout the province. The advisors provide guidance to apprentices and employer sponsors on processes and policies relating to apprenticeship.
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 groups, post-secondary institutions, Indigenous skills trainers and the Industry Training Authority.
ABOUT Skilled Trades Certification in BC
The Government of British Columbia says every other province in Canada requires tradespeople to be certified, but BC removed that requirement in 2003. “This means there are currently thousands of trades workers across the province without formal recognition of their knowledge or skill levels.”
By requiring trades workers to be either a certified journeyperson or a registered apprentice, skilled trades certification provides a pathway to:
• Raising the skill level of BC’s trades workforce.
• Ensuring the province has enough skilled trades workers to meet future demands.
• Providing opportunities for more trades workers to benefit from post-secondary training and certification that leads to “better jobs, higher wages and lifelong careers”.
As they pertain to Electrical, the skilled trades certifications are:
• Powerline technician
• Industrial electrician
• Electrician (construction)
Once the certification system is implemented, individuals in these 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.
The government will also introduce journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios for each of these trades.