Creating apprenticeship opportunities for Albertans
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour Skills Development
Trade Pathways program to target unemployed or underemployed young Albertans and provide them with on-the-job mentorship and apprenticeship training.
Alberta’s government is investing $3.2 million to train more Albertans for good-paying jobs in the construction industry. A 33-month pilot project, Trade Pathways, is a partnership with the Alberta Construction Association, End Poverty Edmonton and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers.
The initiative will provide hands-on training to prepare Albertans for jobs in the trades. Apprentices will have the opportunity to train under several Alberta Construction Association member companies, developing comprehensive, job-ready skills and experience. Funding will support wage top-ups, preparatory training and personal protective equipment/tool costs for apprentices.
“Alberta’s construction sector is integral to the growth and economic prosperity of our province,” stated Demetrios Nicolaides, the province’s minister of Advanced Education. “As outlined in the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy, we are focused on building a highly skilled and competitive workforce that will be ready to meet increased industry demands while helping young Albertans access the training they need to find good-paying jobs.”
“Our members have identified a need for skilled labourers to meet ever-increasing industry demands,” added Ken Gibson, executive director of the Alberta Construction Association. “We are proud to partner with the Government of Alberta on this initiative which responds to this need and also helps young Albertans gain the hands-on experience and skills they need to find employment in the construction industry.”
Being on the front lines of a severe shortage of skilled workers, construction firms are stepping forward to support the program.
“As the province rebuilds post-pandemic, the shortage of qualified tradespeople is becoming dire,” said Patrick Schmidtz, president and general manager of Jardeg Construction. “We are happy to do our part to help train more apprentices.”
Phil Roy, director at Christensen & McLean Roofing, added, “We simply cannot continue to meet these demands without a significant increase in the number of skilled labourers in Alberta, which is why we are very happy to partner with the Government of Alberta and the ACA, and to help prepare new apprentices for work in the industry.”
Laurie Hauer, director of programs and services with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, views the program as a way to bridge some of the gaps that can make it difficult for new Canadians to find successful employment.
“Simply gaining enough experience to be competitive in the labour market can be difficult, which is why the Trade Pathways program is important,” explained Hauer. “Not only will Trade Pathways provide newcomers with hands-on training and experience that will give them a competitive edge, its continued success will come from ongoing collaboration between the Alberta Construction Association, local employers and community organizations that support newcomers’ successful integration into Alberta’s labour market.”