Apprentice electricians Daniel McMaster

Apprentice electricians Daniel McMaster

Trades training promoted to students

NANAIMO – With a shortage of skilled tradespeople, going the trades route is suggested to high school grads.

With a shortage of skilled tradespeople being trumpeted by many, going the trades route might be a better way for high school graduates, says the head of an initiative to promote trades in B.C.

A lack of skilled people to fill positions was highlighted recently when the B.C. Construction Association announced it was going to Ireland, seeking to hire 600 workers, pointing to what many call the skills gap – a lack of skills or types of workers.

Carole MacFarlane, a former career programs coordinator for the Vancouver School Board, who has been working on the Discover Trades B.C. Initiative, said the skills gap has been widening for several years and demographics is one of the reasons.

“We don’t have enough people to fill the jobs that are available and the up-skilling of jobs means that there are a lot of people that could work if they had the skills, but are not employable until they get the skills so that’s causing the gap to get wider and wider,” she said. “Some of the industries can’t find enough people so they’re going outside [Canada] to interview and hire people from overseas in order to fill the skills gap.”

MacFarlane, who was speaking during a panel on trades training at Vancouver Island University’s open house Friday, said she isn’t suggesting that every student moving on to post-secondary education should enrol in the trades, but they should be aware of the options because of the opportunities that will allow for gainful employment and self-fulfilling work.

This isn’t lost on students. Guy Ellis, dean of trades and applied technology at Vancouver Island University, says currently, for the foundation-type of programs offered in a number of the trades, there are about 1,800 applications for 330 seats and the number of people applying for trades programs have increased.

“Our applications are up 25 per cent, we’ll say over the last three years, but we’re only funded for so many seats and there’s a bit of a bottleneck growing with the greater demand than we’re able to supply,” Ellis said.

Kylan Bezaire, an apprentice electrician at Vancouver Island University, thought he was going to become a historian coming out of high school and he wasn’t considering trades. Nevertheless he is enjoying the path he has taken.

“I like the fact that it’s very hands-on and you also have to use your brain and you have to have a brain in order to do this,” Bezaire said. “It clips along at a good pace … but it keeps you busy and it’s a very in demand trade as well, so there’s a lot of work around for it.”

Ellis said that students are exploring potential careers when taking academic types of courses. Trades are geared for people who have set career goals.

“If they’ve already got something figured out, then the trades or technical careers – if that’s what they’re interested in, because they like building things, or fixing things – that makes it a natural for them,” said Ellis.

Just Posted

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

City of Nanaimo council has approved amendments for an animal control bylaw requested by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bylaw includes language related to quail. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

Ministry concerned bylaw wording could create municipal and provincial jurisdictional overlaps

Most Read