Letter: Raising awareness of opportunities in skilled trades

Wanted: Skilled tradespeople. Must enjoy great wages, rewarding work, and a bright future.

The Editor,

Wanted: Skilled tradespeople. Must enjoy great wages, rewarding work, and a bright future. As employment ads go, does this sound too good to be true? It’s actually not.

April is Construction and Skilled Trades Month in B.C., which is a perfect time to raise awareness about the opportunities in the skilled trades.

In 2017, the B.C. construction industry had 8,395 job vacancies, representing a 20 per cent increase over the previous year, and 25 per cent of Canada’s overall construction industry job vacancies. In fact, trades jobs are expected to comprise 11 per cent of all job openings in B.C. in the next decade. That’s more than 100,000 jobs.

The skilled trades are well paid, in demand and portable, with significant opportunities for advancement.

And it gets even better because, over the next three years, this province will invest $15.8 billion in taxpayer-funded infrastructure throughout B.C., supporting thousands of jobs during construction. These projects have the potential to set the bar high in terms of benefits to the communities they serve. This isn’t a new concept. Community Benefits Agreements — formal agreements between governments and contractors — have been used with success throughout North America for more than two decades. Both union and non-union contractors can — and do — build public projects with community benefits. These agreements can ensure that workers are paid fairly and that opportunities exist for qualified local workers, apprentices, women in trades and Indigenous workers. Community Benefits Agreements can literally change the economic landscape for the better by gifting communities with a legacy of skills, training, employability and local investment.

So Construction and Skilled Trades Month aren’t just about the 200,000 workers employed in the construction sector. It’s about all of us who use and pay for the bridges, roads, dams, and structures that these workers have built.

Public infrastructure projects should provide community benefits that are wide and deep. It’s as simple and as necessary as that.

Tom Sigurdson

Executive Director, BC Building Trades

Just Posted

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

New and expanding businesses abound around Castlegar

Fourteen vacant commercial spaces have been filled in recent months

Addressing the opioid crisis in Castlegar

Decriminalization is key to providing proper support for people who use drugs, a conference heard.

Castlegar shares draft 2018 budget

Property owners can expect to see a 3.5% property tax increase — about $39 for the typical home.

Localized flooding on Bloomer Creek

Castlegar’s Oglow subdivision experienced some flooding due to failure of a private culvert.

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Most Read