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BCAA reports upturn in B.C. skilled workforce

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LNG Industry,

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) has reported “better than expected” results for the skilled workforce in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, in key figures released for the province's industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector.

This has positive implications for proposed LNG projects in the province.

The BCCA said that one of the biggest gains is in the ratio of high school graduates in the province that are entering construction trades training programmes within one year of graduation. This figure has increased 35% since 2013.

Manley McLachlan, BCCA President, said: "Our youth are getting the message that the trades can be a very rewarding and lucrative career path […] Even so, we would need 1/10 high school graduates to enter the trades in order to have enough skilled journey people for the jobs that are coming."

Earlier this year, Buildforce Canada revised its estimate for B.C.'s skilled worker shortage to 15 000 by 2025, which is 51% lower than its 2013 estimate of 30 500.

McLachlan added: "It's very important to understand that the main reason for the predicted skilled worker shortage is retirements […] If LNG projects go ahead, the gap gets even bigger. Do not make the mistake of disregarding the worker shortage because of lack of progress on the LNG side. The workforce pressure is on regardless."

Chris Atchison, Provincial Manager of the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP), said: "These trends are all positive, but it's important to recognise that 11.1% youth unemployment means more than 42 000 young people would like to be employed but can't find jobs […] When you compare that to the skills gap in our sector, the solution seems clear. But the problem is still a long way from being solved."

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British Columbia (B.C.) LNG news