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BC Contractors now required to sponsor apprentices


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October 19, 2015

To support the growth of the BC apprenticeship system, the BC government now requires contractors and subcontractors to engage in apprenticeship training on new, major infrastructure projects.

The Apprentices on Public Projects policy began on July 1, 2015, and applies to infrastructure projects that are valued at $15 million or more. This requirement affects all red seal trades used on in-scope government funded projects, which includes the HVAC/R industries.

Greg Knight, president of Georgia Mechanical Systems Ltd. in Burnaby, BC, says that this policy is good except that his company and most others, will not be affected by it. He says, “we always have, and always will have, apprentices in our employ.”

Similarly, Dave Erb from Erb Technical Contracting Ltd. in Saanichton, BC says that overall this is a step in the right direction for the industry, but adds, “Where I worry is, are we able to sustain the apprentices through their years in this industry? What usually happens is there is a push for these jobs, just like there is now with this policy, but half the kids [who participate] are only there to get a job. They aren’t there to learn and get a career.”  He added that it will take time to see how this program will impact the industry.

The government is also encouraging public sector organizations and projects with a total provincial investment of less than $15 million to engage in apprenticeship training. This is to help ensure that BC tradespersons are educated to fill the expected million job openings between now and 2022.


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