First B.C. Apprenticeship Conference

May 5, 2010, 1:38 PM EST

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The British Columbia Federation of Labour has taken steps to deal with the looming skilled trades shortage in the province by holding its first ever apprenticeship conference.

The CAW Skilled Trades Department took part in the conference titled - Moving Forward: Apprenticeships in the New Economy 2010.
More than one hundred delegates from industry, labour, government (ITA), postsecondary education as well as economists were present in Victoria B.C. from April 18-19. Joe Elworthy of CAW Local 2200 and Dave Vallely of the Coast Mountain Bus Company gave a very informative joint presentation on how they have increased apprenticeship training in their workplace.

Colin Heslop, CAW skilled trades director said "The conference heard that B.C. is facing a skilled trades shortage of 160,000 trades people over the next five years. It was clear from delegates that industry and labour must work collaboratively together to alleviate this troubling shortage," he said.

Unfortunately, many companies in B.C. and across Canada do not take apprentices, which needs to change, delegates were told.
Jim Sinclair, B.C. Federation of Labour president, said, "If we don't train, if we don't deal with this crisis, then our economy will sputter and sputter ... and our young folks will be sitting there unemployed, looking at some other people coming in from other places to do the work that they didn't get a chance to be trained for."

Sinclair supports a provincial training tax for employers. He recommends that those that train workers would not pay, those that train above the standard would get a rebate and those that do not train, have to pay.


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