Langley MLA Andrew Mercier told the legislature B.C. is facing a crisis in skilled trades (B.C. legislature video image)

Langley MLA Andrew Mercier told the legislature B.C. is facing a crisis in skilled trades (B.C. legislature video image)

A warning about a crisis in skilled trades from Langley MLA Andrew Mercier

Looming shortage could be opportunity for young people willing to work with their hands

Saying B.C. has 37,000 registered apprentices and it isn’t enough, Langley MLA Andrew Mercier told the provincial legislature a critical shortage is looming.

“We have 37,000 registered apprentices with the Industry Training Authority in British Columbia, and we graduate 6,100 of them into journeypeople every year,” Mercier commented, ”but that is not enough. We have a real skilled-trades crisis in this province.”

Noting the province is projected to have 73,000 job openings in less than 10 years in skilled trades, Mercier said it reprtesents an opportunity “for enterprising young people to get into a profession where they can work with their hands, gain some skills and see the productive value of what they do every day.”

Mercier, parliamentary secretary for skills training, was speaking as Apprenticeship Recognition Month in B.C. got underway in November,

The month aims to highlight the many roles apprentices play in supporting a strong economy and building a stronger B.C, as well as opportunities for people to start a career in the skilled trades.

Mercier, former legal counsel for Teamsters Local Union No. 213 and executive director of the BC Building Trades Council, has created three personally-funded $400 scholarships for Langley Grade 12l students pursuing skills training programs.

Awarded through the school district foundation, the scholarships go each year to three students enrolled in Industry Training Authority programs, from Vanguard, LSS and Brookswood.

“Going into the skilled trades can take you across this province and across this country, from Site C and LNG Canada in the north to the Pattullo Bridge, the SkyTrain, the Broadway corridor and many other projects across the province,” Mercier said.

“There is so much opportunity to build a life in the skilled trades, and we need to be encouraging our young people in this province to get involved in the skilled trades.”

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