Innovation key as the BC construction industry steps into a modern trades training future

Innovation key as the BC Construction industry steps into a modern trades training futureWritten by Gary Herman, chief executive officer, Industry Training Authority (ITA)

Innovation is embedded in all skilled trades and without it we wouldn’t have infrastructure or the equipment and materials required to build it. The necessity of innovation also pertains to trades training. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we stay ahead of the curve to foster more unique trades training delivery models, encourage program completion, and ensure BC students and workers are first in line for jobs to support our growing economy. 

Over the next ten years, up to 123,000 job openings are expected in skilled trades across the province due mainly to economic growth and the replacement of retiring tradespeople. It just so happens that the construction industry — the backbone of our how-to economy — encompasses some of the most in-demand, skilled trades career opportunities B.C. has to offer, including welders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, millwrights, and machinists, to name a few.

Lucky for us, we have an incredible opportunity on the horizon in British Columbia. The provincial government’s B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint supports innovation in trades training through efforts to continually explore and develop new ways to make trades training work better, specifically through stronger partnerships with industry, labour, and training providers. 

As a province, we’ve been working together across all regions to coordinate and implement innovative practices with a primary focus on regional access (breaking down geographical barriers by bringing training opportunities to remote areas), flexible delivery (encouraging training delivery with flexible scheduling and innovative tools), partnerships (between institutions, training providers, industry, employers, and communities), and student supports (programs that build on essential skills and cultural knowledge to support employment success and retention). 

Construction industry stakeholders and government have stepped up to the challenge. All of their efforts are aimed at improving trades training delivery and outcomes. Now, with more mobile training units, flexible class times, and partnerships between training providers and industry in place across the province to provide students with real-life, hands-on experience, we are well on our way to securing the next generation of skilled tradespeople. Together this will help support and continue to develop the construction infrastructure B.C. is built on, and most significantly, to embrace an innovative trades training future. 

For more information about the Industry Training Authority, please visit their website at


This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of SICA's Construction Review Magazine. To read the entire magazine click here.

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