B.C. grant to support BCRB&HCA talent program
By Adam FreillAsphalt Construction Labour Roads
Funding aims to attract job seekers to key highway maintenance and roadbuilding positions in British Columbia.
Jobseekers in British Columbia will be learning more about highway maintenance and roadbuilding jobs, thanks to a $3.9-million grant to the British Columbia Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association (BCRB&HCA).
The three-year funding will help the organization build up its talent attraction program, which will use innovative training technologies to showcase key jobs within the industry. With a focus on hiring, training, and retaining new employees for the highway maintenance and roadbuilding industry, the program seeks to address a critical shortage of skilled workers for trained highway maintenance positions.
“Helping employers remove barriers to the workplace means more people can work and participate in their communities,” said Sheila Malcolmson, the province’s Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Our government is funding this skills training so that more people can get good in-demand jobs in the highway maintenance and roadbuilding industry.”
Highway maintenance contractors in B.C. are facing a shortage of plow truck drivers, heavy equipment operators and mechanics. As part of the program’s outreach to groups that are currently underrepresented in the industry, the organization aims to establish pathways for sustained employment and engage women, Indigenous Peoples, veterans, new immigrants, and individuals under 40 years of age via training and partnership opportunities.
The roadshow for the program is not just going to talk about the jobs; innovative simulator technologies will place prospective jobseekers in the driver’s seat of snowplows and other types of heavy equipment when the program travels across the province.
“Investments like these are vital for the strength of communities in B.C.,” said Matt Pitcairn, vice-president of BCRB&HCA. “We look forward to how this program will raise the profile of these jobs, and how they can be an important catalyst for the economic health of the province.”
Implementation of the talent attraction program is targeted to begin in Spring 2024 with plans to run it until Spring of 2026.