BC Construction Association launches mentorship program
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Building Builders program aims to connect with the community to improve talent retention and career development.
To help encourage Canadians to explore career opportunities and develop connections with employers in the skilled trades, the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada is providing the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) with $3.6 million for its “Building Builders” program.
The program will connect under-employed and unemployed workers, labourers and unregistered apprentices working in B.C.’s construction industry with established credentialed tradespeople, executives and industry leaders who have been working in construction in B.C. for a minimum of 10 years. The aim is for these mentorships to provide career guidance for workers and a talent acquisition opportunity for employers who are seeking new workers during the ongoing labour shortage.
In addition to attracting non-traditional workers to the industry, Building Builders is also looking to retain existing workers who are not yet on a solid career path and potentially not supported in apprenticeship by their current employer while lowering the average age of apprenticeship initiation, which currently sits at 27 years of age. Provincially, B.C. anticipates having 27,630 job openings in construction by 2027 due to expansion and retirement.
“Mentorship is a tradition in the construction industry, where apprentices learn their craft under the experienced guidance of an accredited journeyperson,” says Chris Atchison, BCCA president. “Building Builders amplifies the role of mentorship well beyond the apprentice-journey relationship, giving job seekers and those workers who are under employed in their current construction job a way to connect to employers and mentors who might otherwise be out of reach.”
There is currently no established mentorship program for B.C.’s construction industry. Under this new initiative, mentees will receive one-to-one coaching, job leads and work experience. Program staff will provide connection, support, opportunities and guidance for both the mentor and the mentee throughout the program.
The Building Builders program will open to applications from mentors and mentees in August of this year. It has funding to run for approximately two years and will seek to support 300 mentees through a 12-month mentorship period.