BCCA’s federally funded apprenticeship drive officially begins

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | September 29, 2022

VICTORIA  – British Columbia’s construction employers can now start to access $40,000 through the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) to offset the costs of onboarding and training first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal trades.

The initial funding is part of a previously announced $21 million funding push by the Government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service with the BCCA working as an intermediary with employers.

“Since the funding announcement in August, nearly 150 contractors have already signed up to be notified as soon as we are open. In this first phase, we’re encouraging employers to access the funds by promoting their best labourers into first-year apprenticeship positions. It’s a valuable opportunity for a deserving employee and faster than finding and hiring brand new talent. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these substantial financial incentives,” said BCCA president Chris Atchison in a statement.

“BCCA’s will be an easy program for employers to work with – we have intentionally not added extra eligibility requirements. We’ll have a big talent pool for employers to tap for new hires because we span the province with our workforce development programs, are promoting our apprenticeship drive on every job-search platform and are mounting a major consumer campaign called ‘Builders Life’ that will change the trades conversation to attract new talent,” BCCA program manager Linda Ryan added.

Employers can receive payments for up to two first-year apprenticeship positions per year during the two years of the drive, for a maximum of $40,000 per employer, a BCCA release stated. They will receive $5,000 for hiring or registering any new first-year apprentice in one of the 39 Red Seal trades, plus an additional $5,000 if the worker self-reports as a woman, new Canadian, LGBTQ2S+, Indigenous, a person with a disability or a visible minority.

“B.C.’s construction industry is approximately 95 per cent male and continues to face a skilled workforce shortage during a time of high demand for construction services. Most employers are small, with 90 per cent employing 20 workers or less. Companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive this funding,” the release stated.