Apprenticeship program hits $5 million milestone
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Muchalat Group of Companies recognized for receiving the 5 millionth dollar paid out through the B.C. Construction Association (BCCA) Apprenticeship Services program.
A Vancouver Island construction company found itself in the spotlight this week as it received what turned out to be the 5 millionth dollar paid out so far under one of the most far-reaching Red Seal apprenticeship drives undertaken in British Columbia.
The Muchalat Group of Companies has registered four first-year apprentices through the B.C. Construction Association (BCCA) Apprenticeship Services and received a total of $40,000 in financial incentives as a result. The fourth payment hit the $5 Million milestone at BCCA.
“This is an easy program for employers to take advantage of, and I encourage any contractors who are getting ready to register first-year Red Seal apprentices to contact BCCA first,” urges Tania Formosa, owner of the Muchalat Group of Companies. “If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table plain and simple. I don’t know any contractors who can afford to do that these days.”
The BCCA will pay employers $5,000 for each first-year apprentice registered in any of 39 construction Red Seal trades, and an additional $5,000 if the apprentice self identifies as part of an equity deserving group, with funding received from the Government of Canada Apprenticeship Service. BCCA, which launched its program in October 2022, has already sent payments to 469 employers who have registered a total of 692 apprentices in B.C. so far.
“We’re thrilled to reach the $5 million milestone, and ready to send millions more to B.C. construction employers before the program ends March 31, 2024,” says Chris Atchison, BCCA president. “There are no strings attached to how the funding should be spent once it’s received, and we’re hearing from employers that the extra cash is very welcome right now.”
So far, the BCCA program has registered apprentices in 33 trades, with the most registrations happening for carpenters, construction electricians and plumbers. The apprentices are from across B.C., range in age from 16 and up, and include 47.8 per cent who identify in equity deserving groups. B.C.’s construction industry is 96% male, so adding diversity is one of the goals of the program, but the funding is available to support all new apprentices regardless of demographics.
“I’m excited to become a first-year apprentice and glad that my employer is able to access this money to offset the cost of training me,” says Amanda Muise, a newly minted first-year carpentry apprentice. “The funds made it an easier decision to promote me and the three other apprentices that my employer has registered through the program.”
The Muchalat Group of Companies has operated on Central Vancouver Island since 1979, delivering both residential and commercial projects, and qualified to provide general contracting services, construction management services, and building envelope renovations.
This opportunity is funded by the government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service, which has provided $21M in funding to the BC Construction Association to operate as an intermediary with employers.