Trades advisor supports new apprentices

NANAIMO – Tradespeople in Nanaimo now have support at the local level, thanks to a new initiative from the Industry Training Authority.

Trade apprentices and sponsors in Nanaimo will now have support at the local level, thanks to a new initiative from the Industry Training Authority.

The authority, which manages trades training and certification in the province, is introducing apprenticeship advisors, who will act as an extension of its customer support. Advisors’ duties include offering support, advice and networking opportunities to sponsors and apprentices.

Doug Podetz, apprenticeship advisor for Vancouver Island, said the authority determined a need to have advisors in the field to offer guidance for those involved in trades training. Demand is increasing for construction jobs in the province and on the Island, he said.

“We’ve got a hotel, I believe, that’s going to be constructed here in Nanaimo,” said Podetz. “There are a couple of hospitals that are going to be built on the Island. We’ve got the John Hart project that’s cranking up in Campbell River, so certainly the construction sector, which includes carpenters, plumbers, electricians particularly, I see some heavy requests from industry to fill these positions.”

Podetz said he is coming across people who have worked in the trades over the years but have never apprenticed or received certification and are looking for ways to acquire refresher programs and certification – he is looking to remedy this.

“I will be doing workshops through various Work B.C. offices,” said Podetz. “I’m going to be working quite closely with the STEP [Skilled Trades Employment Program] office here in Nanaimo to look at setting up refresher courses for these candidates because we want to see more people move through to acquire certification.”

The job market is growing and with the amount of capital investment that is taking place on the Island there is going to be an increase in the need for journeymen on job sites as well as apprentices, he said.

There will also be apprenticeship advisors for the Interior, northeast and northwest regions of the province.