BC construction employers offered $40,000 to support apprenticeship and diversity

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Effective Sept. 27, BC’s construction employers can begin to access up to $40,000 through the BC Construction Association (BCCA) to offset the costs of onboarding and training first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal trades.

There is no requirement as to how the employer must spend the dollars they receive.

“Since the funding announcement in August, nearly 150 contractors have already signed up to be notified as soon as we are open,” BCAA president Chris Atchison said in a statement.

“In this first phase, we’re encouraging employers to access the funds by promoting their best labourers into first-year apprenticeship positions. It’s a valuable opportunity for a deserving employee and faster than finding and hiring brand new talent. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these substantial financial incentives.”

Employers will receive $5,000 for hiring or registering any new first-year apprentice in one of the 39 Red Seal trades, plus an additional $5,000 if the worker self-reports as a woman, new Canadian, LGBTQ2S+, Indigenous, a person with a disability, or a visible minority.

Employers can receive payments for up to two first-year apprenticeship positions per year during the two years of the drive, for a maximum of $40,000 per employer.

Although several organizations have received similar funding in BC and across Canada, employers may only register with one intermediary per year, and must sign a contract before dollars can flow.

“BCCA’s will be an easy program for employers to work with – we have intentionally not added extra eligibility requirements,” says program manager Linda Ryan. “We’ll have a big talent pool for employers to tap for new hires because we span the province with our workforce development programs, are promoting our apprenticeship drive on every job-search platform and are mounting a major consumer campaign called “Builders Life” that will change the trades conversation to attract new talent.”

BC’s construction industry is approximately 95 percent male and continues to face a skilled workforce shortage during a time of high demand for construction services. Most employers are small, with 90 per cent employing 20 workers or less. Companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive this funding.

This opportunity is funded by the government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service, which has provided $21 million in funding to the BCCA to operate as an intermediary with employers.

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