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By 2031 B.C. can expect approximately 85,000 new job openings for workers in trades occupations. In addition, B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook forecasts that nearly 80% of the more than 1,000,4001 job openings over the next decade will require workers to have some level of postsecondary training, including apprenticeships. We are already seeing increasing levels of skills needed in the trades, with rapid technology changes, automation and new occupations being driven by emerging sectors, such as, the clean economy.

As government, in partnership with the Industry Training Authority (ITA), begins implementing Skilled Trades Certification, trades workers, employers, industry, training providers, Indigenous communities and other partners were broadly engaged to better understand potential challenges and opportunities presented by Skilled Trades Certification.

Through a series of one-on-one meetings, virtual roundtable discussions and an online survey, a number of consistent themes emerged about how government can enhance our existing trades training system and make sure Skilled Trades Certification is effectively implemented:

Exploring more flexible learning options, such as, digital and remote instruction, as well as evening and weekend classes so that apprentices can continue to work and stay close to their families and communities while learning.

Making sure there are enough training seats available to keep up with increased demand, and waitlists are kept to a minimum.

Providing opportunities for early exposure to the trades so that more young people choose a career in the trades to replace retiring workers.

Ensuring a range of supports are in place to help currently uncertified workers successfully challenge exams – especially for older workers and those who have a first language other than English.

Enhancing outreach and education on available supports, so that workers and employers can easily get help with certification when and where they need it.

Continuing to make trades education welcoming, inclusive and culturally relevant.

To access the full report, visit: WHAT WE HEARD: Public Engagement on Skilled Trades Certification in British Columbia. January 2022.