WITH more than 85,000 job openings expected in the next decade, British Columbia’s future economy depends on having more skilled tradespeople, from diverse backgrounds, building the province of tomorrow. As the crown corporation that oversees B.C.’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system, SkilledTradesBC (formerly Industry Training Authority) has introduced Skilled Trades Certification beginning with seven electrical and mechanical trades.
Commonly referred to as mandatory certification, Skilled Trades Certification requires workers in the selected trades to become certified or register as an apprentice by December 1, 2023. The change will formally recognize the skills of trade workers, raise the profile of skilled trades, attract more people to trades careers and help employers find the skilled workers they need to support their business grows.
Phase one of Skilled Trades Certification will affect the following trades:
* Construction Electrician
* Industrial Electrician
* Powerline Technician
* Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic
* Gasfitter A & B
* Sheet Metal Worker
Implementation of Skilled Trades Certification
Skilled Trades Certification requires those working in the initial seven trades to become certified or register as an apprentice. For employers, this means that they will need to ensure that their employees are either registered apprentices or certified journeypersons and meet the two apprentices to one journeyperson supervision ratio requirement. A 2: 1 apprentice to journeyperson supervision ratio helps ensure that apprentices get the right level of training and experience they need to become qualified workers, who in turn can support their business and the needs of British Columbians.
For uncertified workers who have some practical experience in their Skilled Trades Certification trades and have completed 1800-5400 hours of work-based training, they can challenge a level exam and start their apprenticeship journey at a suitable level.
Experienced workers who have more than 9,000 work-based training hours that can be verified by previous employers and have completed other criteria can get certified by challenging a certification. As trade qualifiers, they will have their skills and knowledge assessed against national and provincial standards.
Experienced workers who plan to get off the tools within five years may be eligible to apply for Temporary Authorization, allowing them to continue working in their trade for a period of time.
Supports for Skilled Trades Certification
In addition to the provincial and federal supports available to registered employers and apprentices, SkilledTradesBC has also enhanced supports to those who are in the Skilled Trades Certification trades. In addition to the expanded team of 25 Apprenticeship Advisors, new Skilled Trades Certification Advisors are located across the province to provide hands-on support to employers and workers.
SkilledTradesBC is also providing resources to assist trade workers to get on the certification pathway. This includes waiving exam fees for Skilled Trades Certification trades, providing a self-assessment tool for apprentices to evaluate what level is appropriate to challenge and offering exam accommodation based on individuals’ needs such as additional exam time, a translator or a reader.
Want to know more?
Visit SkilledTradesBC’s website https://skilledtradesbc.ca/skilledtradescertification to learn more about Skilled Trades Certification and how to get on the pathway to certification.
SkilledTradesBC, formerly known as Industry Training Authority, is the organization that advances British Columbia’s trades training system. The B.C. government has expanded its mandate to include a larger focus on raising the profile of skilled trades, modernizing its approach to trades training, and implementing Skilled Trades Certification. https://skilledtradesbc.ca/
This story first appeared in our print edition of August 12, 2023