Federal government invests in training in skilled trades in Burnaby

THE federal government on Tuesday announced an investment of close to $ 4.7 million for a SkillPlan-led project under the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) that will help local apprentices in Burnaby succeed in the skilled trades. This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s $62 million investment over five years to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce, and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.

The announcement was made by Terry Beech, MP for Burnaby North-Seymour and Parliamentary Secretary, on behalf of Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

The UTIP supports union-based apprenticeship training and works to reduce barriers to participation and success in Red Seal trades. The first stream, Investments in Training Equipment, helps unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials. The second stream, Innovation in Apprenticeship, supports innovation and strengthens partnerships to address challenges that are limiting apprenticeship outcomes in Canada.

Funded under Stream 2 of the UTIP, SkillPlan will develop a one-stop online training and support system for diverse apprentices including educational resources, tutoring and mentoring, as well as tools for employers to create more inclusive workplaces. The goal is to proactively address the various challenges and skills gaps that exist at all levels of apprenticeship training. The project is expected to help about 5,000 apprentices.

“As we continue to fight COVID-19, our support for workers remains strong. Skilled tradespeople across the country have been critical to essential sectors during this pandemic, and they will continue to be so as Canada moves toward economic recovery. This investment will help Canadians, including Canadians from key groups facing barriers, get the training they need to launch exciting and well-paying careers in the trades,” said Qualtrough.

“Skilled tradespeople are a key component of Canada’s workforce, and are vital to the strength and diversity of our local economies. This investment will help create a pool of qualified tradespeople in Burnaby, North Vancouver, and in communities across the Lower Mainland who are ready to take on in-demand jobs during the economic recovery,” said Beech.

“There is growing demand for skilled trades and a demonstrated need to increase the pool of diverse candidates, and this one-stop online training and support system will help facilitate the entry, retention and advancement of underrepresented groups in the unionized construction industry,” said Kyle Downie, Chief Executive Officer, SkillPlan.

Quick Facts
* Through the UTIP, the Government of Canada provides $25 million annually to support union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships in the Red Seal trades.

* Demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to remain strong as the economy moves toward recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2019 and 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are also expected to retire. Meeting these demands will require the recruitment and training of thousands of additional skilled workers.

* Young women continue to be less likely to express interest in a career in the skilled trades. According to a survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, only 2% of 15-year-old female students indicated they were planning to pursue a career in the skilled trades.

* The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeships through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding and support for the Red Seal program. The Government is also working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training requirements in targeted Red Seal trades.