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News » Canada » Fewer BC school leavers enter construction » published 5 Oct 2017

Fewer BC school leavers enter construction

The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) has reported the first decline in four years in the number of school leavers entering trades in the industry.

BCCA said that there has been a slight decrease in the proportion of BC high school graduates entering the construction trades. When the BCCA first began calculating this number in 2013 it estimated that 1 in 93 students went from Grade 12 into trades training. By 2016 that number improved by 35% to 1 in 69, but this year there has been a slight reversal to 1/70.

“In order to fill the predicted shortage of 14,200 construction tradespeople, 1 in 12 high school graduates need to enter the trades over the next few years,” said BCCA president Chris Atchison.  “Although the predicted shortage of construction workers has decreased from 30,000, there’s still a significant gap and the demand for skilled workers remains high.”

There are currently CA$75.1bn in construction projects under way, with the value of future projects estimated at CA$325bn.

The construction workforce has grown by 12% this year, with 6% more companies operating and paying a total of CA$13.2bn in construction wages. Construction remains BC’s largest employer in the goods sector, contributing 8.6% of GDP.

“BC is enjoying a strong economy and as a result has seen a steady drop in the youth unemployment rate overall,” said Atchison. “Construction has to compete harder to attract young people, often against a cultural bias that prevails despite the fact that construction trades offer one of the highest average wages, a rewarding career path, and the chance to graduate with little or no student debt.”

The main reason for the predicted skilled worker shortage is retirements, with two-thirds of the workforce over the age of 45.

“With 35,000 young people unemployed and a projected skills gap of 14,000 in the construction industry, match-making opportunities seem clear,” says Atchison. “BCCA is offering very real opportunities for jobs and training through our skilled workforce programs like STEP and the LNG Canada Trades Training Fund.”



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This article was published on 5 Oct 2017 (last updated on 5 Oct 2017).

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