Officials in B.C. are warning of the economic threat facing the province with not enough workers entering the skilled trades.
Speaking this month at Vancouver Island University the CEO of B.C.’s Industry Training Authority told students that not enough young people are entering the skilled trades and that more should be done by parents and the rest of the community to encourage change. In fact, argues Kevin Evans, for the first time in history the lack of skilled trades workers could be the major factor in deterring B.C.’s economic growth.
“About three-quarters of the jobs in B.C. that will arise between now and 2020 will require some sort of post-secondary education, and about 43 per cent of those jobs will be in the skilled trades,” said Evans. “How we move forward to meet this challenge and that depends on the province’s employers and parents, as well as comprehensive immigration policies and training programs. If we fail, the risks to this province will be severe.”
The ITA is also advocating for more apprenticeship opportunities for young people. The ITA was established in 2004 to help coordinate B.C.’s skilled trades system. The Authority works with employers, employees, and other invested parties to coordinate the recruitment, training and certification of skilled trades in the province.
Evans said that his organization hopes to see skills training begin in elementary school and is working with B.C.’s Ministry of Education to incorporate this element into the curriculum.