Trades Talk Fall 2014

Page 1


Fall 2014


ITA at work: Seizing opportunities and building a skilled BC As the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, I am pleased and honoured to lead the Industry Training Authority (ITA) at this crucial time for skills training in BC. ITA has the opportunity to re-engineer its approach in order to transform into a high-performance, customer-focused organization that is timely, responsive, and labour market demand driven. It is our goal to build a skilled workforce to match the regional and sectoral needs, including labour demands. ITA has been working hard to develop a Transition Plan to address the recommendations in the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and The Industry Training Authority and Trades Training in B.C.: Recalibrating for High Performance (McDonald Report). The action plan is based on four pillars: …continued/5 SPOTLIGHT

Worth its weight in gold: An ACE IT success story

IN THIS ISSUE ITA at work Action Plan for LNG Trades Training Doing It Right: A best practices guide Employer Profile: Mearl’s Machine Works Growing your company: Tips for recruiting and hiring Program Updates Apprenticeship Advisor Career Apprenticeship Advisor Crystal Bouchard Question of the Quarter

Eight years ago, ITA introduced a program called the Accelerated Credit Enrollment in Industry Training (ACE IT) in BC including Squamish Secondary School in partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The highly successful ACE IT program allows high school students to take first level technical training, giving them dual credit for high school courses and apprenticeship or industry training programs. The program has provided training for over 15,000 students, guiding them on a path to a successful career in the trades—Curtis Shard is one of those students. Curtis, a grade 12 student at Squamish Secondary School, hadn’t found something that interested him yet in his high school curriculum. “Curtis’ career future was never very clear to us,” says Wendy Shard, Curtis’ mother, “— at least before he started the ACE IT program. But then it became clear that he found his path. All of a sudden

he was studying, showing up on time for school and was speaking with pride and confidence about what he wanted to do when he finished high school.” “I found out about the program through Vicki Schenk, the high school’s Woodwork teacher,” says Curtis, “she saw that I would be good at carpentry and she introduced me to my instructor Grahame Carson.” Grahame has been an ACE IT Carpentry instructor for seven years. “The ACE IT program is worth its weight in gold. People just don’t realize what a profound effect it has on our students,” says Grahame. “Being an instructor in the program gives me both the challenge and opportunity to nurture students who come to my class with little or no confidence and then to see them develop into valuable assets to this community, just like Curtis.” For Curtis, the program has given him direction and something to get excited about. “I found I

Vicki Schenk, Squamish Secondary School Woodwork teacher with Curtis Shard, ACE IT participant.

really enjoyed carpentry and with the help of Grahame, I was able to secure an apprenticeship before I had even finished my last day of school.” Grahame’s hope is that the program continues to become more popular for students in BC. “All you need to do to succeed like Curtis is have a good attitude, be determined to work hard in your studies, and absorb all the knowledge that you possibly can,” says Grahame. • Learn more about how you

can get involved in the ACE IT program.

I TA T R A D E S TA L K FA L L 2 0 1 4



ITA at work ITA has been hard at work since the launch of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the release of the recommendations in The Industry Training Authority and Trades Training in BC: Recalibrating for High Performance (McDonald Report). Here are just a few of the twenty plus actions ITA has delivered on over the past three months. STRATEGY ITA Transition Plan: A road map to skills for BC ITA’s first step was to create a Transition Plan in response to the recommendations in the independent review and those made by the BC government. The Transition Plan focuses on four key areas: • Transform Industry Relations

• Re-align Training Investment

• Launch LNG Action Plan

• Enhance ITA Capability

In the first 90 days of the Transition Plan, ITA has delivered on over 20 actions and will continue to execute the plan over the coming months. • Learn more about the Transition Plan and ITA’s plan to transform into high-performance, customer-focused organization that is timely, responsive, and labour market demand driven.

TRAINING ITA Introduces BC’s 48th Red Seal Trade: Construction Craft Worker Construction Trade Helpers and Labourers are at the top of the list of in-demand liquefied natural gas (LNG) occupations with an anticipated demand up to 11,800 Construction Trade Helpers and Labourers by 2018. In response to this demand, ITA has taken the small but crucial step of introducing the Construction Craft Worker Red Seal certification.

within those communities. By the end of December 2014, a total of 15 Apprenticeship Advisors will be working across BC. • Learn more about the Apprenticeship Advisors in your area.

FUNDING Investment in critical trades seats means more opportunities for trades students As part of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the BC government has invested $6.8 million to create an additional 1,424 critical trades seats, including 889 foundation and 535 apprenticeship seats at 14 public post-secondary institutions throughout the province. ITA has allocated a further $3.75 million from the Learner Demand Fund to reduce apprenticeship waitlists in top demand trades. The funding is a strategic investment in building a trained workforce that will be ready for jobs in the LNG and other industries. ITA is committed to working with partners in industry, training and education to respond to the growing labour demand.

PROMOTION BC Lions roar back into schools for another year of the Lions in the House initiative

The certification will help to amplify and raise the standard of excellence for the Construction Craft Worker trade. This will help ensure that British Columbians are trained and first in line for these upcoming jobs. • Learn more about the trade and keep informed of training opportunities.

SUPPORT Making Connections: Six more Apprenticeship Advisors hired Adding to the team of the first four Apprenticeship Advisors already on-the-ground in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George and Terrace, ITA has hired an additional six Advisors. The new Advisors will be located in the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, Victoria, Dawson Creek and Cranbrook, and will be in place at the end of September. In addition to building knowledge of the BC apprenticeship system, advising apprentices and sponsors, boosting apprentice success and supporting apprentice and sponsor connections, three Apprenticeship Advisors located in Cranbrook, Kamloops and the North Shore, will also focus on recruiting and supporting Aboriginal apprentices


W W W. I TA B C . C A

ITA is excited to announce that starting January 2015, the Lions in the House initiative, presented by CN Rail, will make over 20 school visits throughout the province to talk to youth about opportunities in the skilled trades. The interactive sessions with BC Lions players show the power of choice and reminds youth that there are many pathways to a successful career. • To learn more about the Lions in the House initiative.

I TA T R A D E S TA L K FA L L 2 0 1 4



Listening and responding to industry: An Action Plan for LNG Trades Training Recent liquefied natural gas (LNG) data indicates that a scenario with five LNG plants constructed in BC between 2015 and 2024 would create a total industry investment of $175 billion and up to 10,000 jobs: 58,700 direct and indirect construction jobs, 23,800 permanent direct and indirect jobs for operations. With numbers like these, LNG has quickly become a priority for the BC Government and ITA and is the driving force behind the development of An Action Plan for LNG Trades Training. Responding to these labour demands from the LNG industry is one of the four key pillars outlined in ITA’s Transition Plan. ITA worked with Geoff Stevens, Chair of BC’s Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee, to build a plan that ensures British Columbians, including First Nations communities, are first in line for jobs. The plan has been reviewed and validated by key industry stakeholders which includes updates to the action priorities. In the first stages of the plan, ITA has set out eight actions that the organization will deliver on: • Establish an LNG/natural gas Sector Advisory Group that will

provide direct input to government and ITA on matters relating to workforce development for the sector. • Finish developing the ITA occupational standards for the

Construction Craft Worker trade program. • Develop a specialized Construction Craft Worker Foundation

Program targeted at First Nations individuals. • Increase youth participation with a focus on high-demand

LNG-related trades. • Complete the hiring of 15 Apprenticeship Advisors across BC,

• Develop a communications strategy focused on trades-related

employment and training opportunities in the LNG sector. • Establish provincial/interprovincial occupational standards for

a range of service jobs in the upstream sector. • Conduct further research into an alternative sponsorship/group

training model for smaller employers that provides enhanced supports and allows apprentices to complete their apprenticeships with a number of employers. ITA will continue receiving input from industry on the confirmed actions, and will further explore input from stakeholders on the proposed actions while reviewing availability of resources. • Learn more about ITA’s Action Plan for LNG Trades Training.

five of whom will be focused on supporting and recruiting the Aboriginal community.

Doing it Right: A best practices guide for creating success for Aboriginal Peoples in the trades Since 2008, the number of Aboriginal Peoples taking trades training has doubled. The increase, in part, can be attributed to the efforts made by Aboriginal employment agencies, First Nations, post-secondary schools, industry and trade unions with the help of Labour Market Agreement (LMA) funds. The lessons that they’ve learned along the way to better attract, train and retain Aboriginal tradespeople have been outlined by ITA in the best practices guide, Doing it Right. Here are some of the learnings that will help guide training providers and program coordinators: • Be open-minded and flexible. With more single parent households,

higher unemployment and higher competition for job opportunities in First Nations communities, employers should offer flexible scheduling, as well as additional services and training to make trades more approachable to Aboriginal Peoples. • Highlight success stories. In marketing and program promotion,

highlight Aboriginal participants who have successfully completed


W W W. I TA B C . C A

training. Inform communities, friends and family of what one of their peers has accomplished via social media networks. • Make a long-term commitment to training. Offer services to assist

prospective candidates to secure employment after having completed training or apprenticeships. Post-training programs have proven to be the key ingredient to retaining Aboriginal Peoples on the work site, and moving them through to completing a trade. • Find out more best practices.

I TA T R A D E S TA L K FA L L 2 0 1 4




Mearl’s Machine Works: Growing a skilled workforce Mike Hall, owner of Mearl’s Machine Works, is an example of a BC employer taking advantage of the skilled trades training system and using it to his benefit. Mearl’s large scale general machine shop offers full services in pumps, air compressors, drill rigs and supplies, bearings and power transmission products, fabrication, welding, and millwrighting. In order to maintain a business that offers such a wide spectrum of services, Mike has to build a skilled workforce. “We are always trying to grow— gain more customers and provide more services,” says Mike. “But we need more people to do that, so finding skilled trades people is of high importance.”

When hiring apprentices, Mike has the support of ITA’s Apprenticeship Advisor in Kelowna, Finbar O’Sullivan, whose job is to help connect apprentices with employers and guide them through the apprenticeship journey. By having Finbar on the ground locally, Mike is able to ensure the smoothest process possible. Mearl’s Machine Works is also leveraging mobility to help their company prosper. Although the company is locally owned and operated, Mearl’s Machine Works is highly mobile, doing work all over BC and even into Alberta. The company even operates a mobile service truck that they can take anywhere to make repairs in the field.

Photo: Marc Smith

One of the best ways to grow a company is to hire apprentices, which is exactly what Mike has been doing. He currently has three active apprentices and just recently had two more finish their certification by completing their required work hours at his shop. Mike Hall, owner of Mearl's Machine Works with Finbar O'Sullivan, ITA Kelowna Apprenticeship Advisor.

Mike’s engagement with the skilled trades training system is a great example of how using the resources available, including trained apprentices and Apprenticeship Advisors, can help your company grow into a well-oiled machine. • Read the 30 Day Adventures blog post about Mearl’s Machine

Works. • Watch a video with Mike Hall about his company.

Growing your company: Tips for recruiting and hiring tradeswomen “It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman in the trades. If a woman can pull her own weight just as most men do, then she has every reason to be there.” – Female Apprentice Although this sentiment is echoed by most employers interviewed during a recent look into the status of women in the trades, women continue to be underrepresented in the trades due to the perpetuation of certain myths about hiring women, including those related to their physical strength. In an effort to debunk myths like this one and help employers standardize hiring practices, ITA developed a first of its kind resource in BC called Leveling the Field: A Best Practices Guide to Employing Women in the Trades. The guide covers recruitment and hiring, orientation, developing and maintaining a safe and welcoming workplace, and retention. Here are some of the insights from the practical guide and tips when it comes to recruiting and hiring women in this industry:


W W W. I TA B C . C A

• Diversify your pool of candidates. The larger the pool of qualified

candidates, the better the chance of finding the workforce you need. Diversity, not just gender diversity, but diversity in experiences, knowledge and skills is seen as a strength. • Be positive, supportive and open-minded. Try to embrace flexible schedules and collaborative work environments. By accommodating a wider audience, you can create a more attractive work environment. • Strive for gender-neutrality. For instance, consider using genderneutral terms like ‘tradesperson’ as this can be an indicator for women as to how welcome they would be in the company. • Strive for consistency. In your hiring practices, ask all applicants the same questions in an interview scenario. That way, a level playing field is created from the start, suggesting a transparent hiring process to those being considered. These tips are a great starting point to ensure that your business hires the most qualified people for the job. Find more tips and insights in the full guide. Read how BC Hydro is addressing best practices in recruitment and retention. Stay tuned for the next edition of Trades Talk where we will highlight some of the best practices for orientation and retention.

I TA T R A D E S TA L K FA L L 2 0 1 4

4 6

Seizing opportunities and building a skilled BC from /1

Program Updates ITA recently issued these Official Program Standards Notifications (OPSNs) covering BC trades training. Changes specified in these OPSNs should be read in conjunction with individual program profiles. Changes were made to the following programs: • Construction Electrician: Program Review and Update.

• Machinist and Metal Fabricator: ITA Standardized Level Exams. • Marine Mechanical Technician: Launch of Marine Mechanical Technician Program. • Standard Level Exams: Calculating and Reporting Marks for Apprenticeship Programs with Standard Level Exams. • Domestic/Commercial Gasfitter (Class B); Gasfitter (Class A): Program Review and Update. • Welder: Reactivation of Welder B and A Modular Pathway Extension. • Heavy Mechanical Trades: Heavy Duty Equipment Technician – Level 1; Truck & Transport Mechanic – Level 1; Diesel Engine Mechanic – Level 1; Transport Trailer Technician – Level 1; Launch of ITA Standard Level Exams. • Plumber; Sprinkler System Installer; Steamfitter/Pipefitter; Tilesetter: Launch of ITA Standard Level Exams. • Production Horticulturist: Error in Assessment Guidelines.

Join the ITA team: Apprenticeship Advisors needed ITA is looking to hire five additional ITA Apprenticeship Advisors in the following regions: North East Region (Prince George), North West Region (Prince Rupert) and three in the Lower Mainland to service Greater Vancouver, the Tricities area and the Fraser Valley. Apprenticeship Advisors will be responsible for helping build knowledge and awareness of the BC apprenticeship system, and providing guidance to both apprentices and employer sponsors who have questions, concerns, or who need support in some capacity. If this sounds like the right fit for you or someone you know, find out more about the role or apply at:

A Certificate of Recognition is presented to Brutus Truck Bodies in Penticton by Scott Hamilton, MLA Delta North, Dan Ashton MLA Penticton, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Shirley Bond and ITA CEO Gary Herman with Gerry Turchak, owner of Brutus Truck Bodies.

1. Transform Industry Relations ITA has introduced an in-depth industry engagement approach to ensure alignment of BC’s training system with industry demand. This approach includes the establishment of nine Sector Advisory Groups (SAG) representing key trade sectors, as well as the introduction of four Industry Relations Managers (IRM) to oversee broader industry engagement. View IRM contact information at 2. Launch LNG Action Plan ITA has developed an Action Plan for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trades training based on consultations with industry that aligns with regional and sectoral demands. 3. Re-Align Training Investment ITA is working with government to develop and establish a transparent process for making training investment decisions aligned with labour market demand targets (jobs). 4. Enhance ITA Capability Functions carried out by the Industry Training Organizations (ITOs) that relate to trades training and apprenticeship will be transferred to ITA and 15 Apprenticeship Advisors will be brought in to help provide on-the-ground support across BC. The 15 Apprenticeship Advisors, including five Aboriginal-focused Advisors, will be in place by December 2014. ITA will also ensure that it has the capability needed to deliver on other government expectations. Since the release of the Transition Plan in May, we have hit the ground running, delivering on a number of key actions within the first 90 days. We are working closer with industry and employers and we have been out in the community recognizing and thanking our local employers for their commitment to growing the skilled trades in BC. Ultimately, our goal is to have the pulse on industry by listening closely to labour demands and then responding to those needs. I look forward to working with all of the skilled trades stakeholders so we can align training, funding, apprentices, and employers to give British Columbians the ability to fully seize the work opportunities in this province. I invite you to learn more about the Transition Plan on our website or by watching a short video.

Gary Herman, Chief Executive Officer


W W W. I TA B C . C A

I TA T R A D E S TA L K FA L L 2 0 1 4



Meet Terrace Apprenticeship Advisor, Crystal Bouchard ITA has introduced Apprenticeship Advisors to help enhance ITA capability. Crystal Bouchard, based in Terrace, is one of the first four on-the-ground working already. ITA has since hired an additional six Advisors and a total of 15 advisors will be in place by December 2014. ITA Trades Talk: How did your career in the trades begin? Crystal: I grew up in a trades family so I always knew it was an option for me. I decided to try it out and became a Professional Class 1 Driver working in BC and Alberta in the oil and gas industry. After four years, I transitioned from a front-line job to behind-the-scenes roles such as a women in trades program coordinator, an employment coach and apprentice program lead at WorkBC. ITA Trades Talk: Since then, you’ve joined ITA as the Terrace Apprenticeship Advisor. What does your role entail? Crystal: My job is to provide support and guidance to apprentices and employers to ensure their success. That is achieved by raising awareness about the BC apprenticeship system and improving engagement. Being on the ground and able to meet with people in-person is crucial to increasing participation in the system. ITA Trades Talk: You are considered one of the Apprenticeship Advisors with Aboriginal subject-matter expertise. What is your personal connection and experience working with Aboriginal communities in BC? Crystal: My First Nations ancestry is Innu First Nation (Montagnais) from Mashteauiatch, Quebec. I have also held many positions that had a focus on Aboriginal employment including being an Aboriginal Education and Culture Program Worker at SD20 in Trail, Aboriginal Advisory Board Member at Selkirk College, Aboriginal Trades Career Coach and Women in Trades Program Coordinator at T.R.A.D.E.S and Aboriginal Liaison at WorkBC. ITA Trades Talk: What is most frequently asked by apprentices? Crystal: Most apprentices come to me with questions about where they can find the training program they want and how they can get funding for it. This information isn’t easy to find because it doesn’t

HAV E YO UR SAY Trades Talk strives to report on the issues and challenges that matter to you. We want to hear your solutions, best practices and success stories. We would also appreciate your feedback on Trades Talk and any suggestions you have. Email your comments to

Join Our Mailing List


all live in one spot but I’m able to provide suggestions based on each of their individual situations and then direct them to the resources they need. ITA Trades Talk: Do you feel you’re making a positive impact in your local trades training system? Crystal: The community is excited about the local opportunities in the LNG and mining sectors but it isn’t always obvious on how to take advantage of those opportunities. I’ve been able to visit employers, talking to them about how they can build a skilled workforce to match the demand. In just seven months, I’ve been able to help register dozens of apprentices by building relationships between local employers and apprentices and by assisting with administration tasks. ITA Trades Talk: What insight can you provide as to why a career in the trades is beneficial? Crystal: By investing in a four year apprenticeship program, you are able to come out with a widely-recognized certification with little to no debt and more importantly, a satisfying career that is challenging, creative and financially rewarding. • Learn more about Crystal and the other Apprenticeship Advisors.

Facts about the North Coast/Nechako Region • 910 Registered apprentices • 166 Employer sponsors in Terrace • 3,600 new job openings between 2010 and 2020:

– 1,530 expansion – 2,070 replacement • Growing sectors:

– Manufacturing – Transportation – Natural Gas • Top three trades in demand:

– Machinery and Transportation Equipment Mechanics – Carpenters and Cabinet Makers – Heavy Equipment Operators • By 2020, it is expected that there will be a total of 6,400

tradespeople working in the area

Question of the Quarter


Forward to a Friend

ITA’s Trades Talk poses a question to readers each quarter, and publishes responses in subsequent issues of Trades Talk. The Question of the Quarter will also be posted on the ITA Facebook page and responses are also welcomed there.

Connect with us on Facebook

This quarter, we want to know: How would you like to see ITA engage with industry over the next 12 months? Email your answers and comments to

Follow us on Twitter


W W W. I TA B C . C A

I TA T R A D E S TA L K FA L L 2 0 1 4