Local businesses supporting apprenticeships were honoured on Friday, as Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and Industry Training Authority CEO Gary Herman presented certificates to Rocky Mountain Diesel Ltd, Dean’s Plumbing and Heating, Cranbrook Interior Woodwork and Spring Honda.
Along with Marlin Ratch, the local ITA apprenticeship advisor, Bennett and Herman made stops at each of the four businesses to recognize each one for their apprenticeship sponsorships.
Bennett said the tour was part of government’s changing approach to post-secondary education.
“We’re streaming more resources into skilled trades than we used to and we’re quite deliberate about that and it seems to be working and these four businesses today are all proof that it is working,” said Bennett.
“…We’ve got over double the apprentices in place today than we had when we created the ITA. We know in Canada that employers get a very good return on investment in apprentices. We know it’s roughly $1.50 for every $1 invested in an apprentice and we’re trying to encourage all employers to think about doing this, not just some.”
Herman said attracting young workers to the skilled trades is important in succession planning for businesses to grow and expand.
“Of the nearly million job openings that are going to be occurring between now and 2025, 120,000 of those are going to be skilled trades positions,” Herman said, “so from an opportunity perspective, there’s no better time in the history of British Columbia, actually, to be taking a skilled trades right now.
“They are careers, the four businesses that we visited today, when you finish and get your Red Seal, there’s lots of opportunity. You can be master on the tools, you can carry on into management, you can be an entrepreneur and start your own company.”
The ITA was created by the provincial government to lead and coordinate B.C.’s skilled trades system and works with works with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards, and increase opportunities in the trades.