BCCA delivers $15.725 million federally funded apprenticeship services to construction industry

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CaDCR staff writer

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) says that it has completed delivery, ahead of schedule and within budget, on the most far-reaching construction trade apprenticeship drive ever undertaken in British Columbia, surpassing its funding objective by $2.28 million.

The Apprenticeship Services workforce development program was financed through the Government of Canada’s Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Apprenticeship Service. Employers who registered up to four first-year apprentices in BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program could qualify to earn up to $40,000 in cash incentives over two years.

Since launching in September 2022, the financial incentives offered through Apprenticeship Services have resulted in the hiring and registering of 2.075 apprentices in 37 Red Seal trades, and sent payments to more than 1,020 qualified employers. More than $15.725 million has been injected into the BC economy through BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program, the association says in a March 26 statement.

“I’m proud of the team at BCCA who delivered the Apprenticeship Services project ahead of schedule and under budget, far exceeding important targets set by the Federal government,” said BCCA president Chris Atchison.

“In addition, we were able to transfer $780,000 from our operational budget into the program as a result of our team’s efficiencies, to the direct benefit of BC’s construction employers and apprentices. Canadian taxpayers deserve nothing less than the efficient and reliable stewardship exemplified by BCCA’s outstanding management of programs like Apprenticeship Services.”

Leveraging its strong industry network and a highly successful Builders Life ad campaign, BCCA surpassed important funder targets, including in the amount of financial incentives paid and the diversity of apprentices, the statement says. In addition, Apprenticeship Services drove program participants to key industry partners such as SkilledTradesBC.

The province-wide initiative was delivered to small- and medium-sized construction employers to help them overcome the financial barriers inherent in hiring and training first-year apprentices. In-demand trades such as electrical and plumbing benefitted from financial incentives.

“At a time when BC’s construction industry faces critical workforce shortages, BCCA has stepped up to support employers through workforce development programs like Apprenticeship Services,” said Atchison. “We’re doing our part to mitigate the ongoing workforce shortage in construction. The current and foreseeable gap is too large to meet BC’s very real housing and infrastructure needs.”

A total of 1,338 Apprenticeship Services program employers became signatories of the Builders Code Acceptable Worksite Culture Pledge, as part of a BCCA support and training program designed to improve worksite culture, increase worker attraction and retention, and eliminate harassment, bullying, hazing and discrimination. Continuing to improve and strengthen diversity within BC’s construction industry was a key component of funding objectives and remains an ongoing goal of the BCCA.

BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program formally closes on March 31.

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