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B.C. making changes to support good trades jobs, tackle labour shortages

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:46 PST, Fri December 2, 2022

British Columbia is advancing a made-in-B.C. solution to attract more people to trades careers and boost prestige for the sector by moving forward with skilled trades certification.

"For too long, B.C. has been the only province in Canada without a skilled trades certification system, putting workers and employers at a disadvantage," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. "By bringing back and enhancing skilled trades certification, we're turning that around—supporting better-paying, steadier work to attract more people to the trades and helping employers find the workers they need to build stronger communities and a stronger B.C."

The change will formally recognize the skills of trades workers, helping them receive standardized training, earn higher wages, and better navigate evolving industry needs. Based on recommendations from a stakeholder advisory working group, there are seven initial trades designated for skilled trades certification and three more will be added in 2024.

"Tradespeople in B.C. need to be recognized for their skills," said Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training. "Our made-in-B.C. skilled trades certification system increases prestige in the trades, while providing workers with more consistent access to better, safer, and higher-paid jobs."

The Industry Training Authority's role of administering B.C.'s skilled trades system is being strengthened. With a name change to SkilledTradesBC, the organization will raise the profile of skilled trades, modernize trades training and implement skilled trades certification by working closely and collaboratively with tradespeople, employers and industry partners.  

"We are excited by our expanded mandate to implement skilled trades certification, and our new name will make it easier for people to understand who we are and what we do," said Shelley Gray, chief executive officer of SkilledTradesBC. "SkilledTradesBC will focus on educating tradespeople and employers about skilled trades certification. We will provide online assessment tools and low-cost exam preparation to help workers get certified."

Sussanne Skidmore, president of the BC Federation of Labour, said: "Moving ahead with certification opens up clear paths to rewarding careers in the skilled trades. It means workers in these trades will learn the latest technical skills and gain the benefits of on-the-job mentorship. And as more trades join these initial 10, more and more B.C. workers can look forward to stable, well-paid jobs that help support their families and communities."

Investing in the trades is part of StrongerBC's Future Ready plan. Future Ready is making education and training more accessible, affordable, and relevant to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.

Visit SkilledTradesBC to learn about the skilled trades certification process and the supports available to tradespeople: skilledtradesbc.ca/skilledtradescertification.

For information about how skilled trades certification was developed, visit engage.gov.bc.ca/skilledtrades/about-mandatory-certification/.

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