With a $3.6-million grant from the federal government, the B.C. Construction Association is launching a new mentorship program with the goal of holding onto its labour force and improving its skill level.
The Building Builders program is tackling the skilled-labour shortage by connecting workers who areunder-employed, out of work, unskilled or unregistered apprentices with well-established tradespeople and executives.
The plans is to offer younger or unskilled workers career guidance, while helping companies add to their labour pool.
“Mentorship is a tradition in the construction industry, where apprentices learn their craft under the experienced guidance of an accredited journeyperson,” said Chris Atchison, president of the construction association. “Building Builders amplifies the role of mentorship well beyond the apprentice-journey relationship, giving job seekers and those workers who are under-employed in their current construction job a way to connect to employers and mentors who might otherwise be out of reach.”
The industry is hoping the new program will attract new talent and non-traditional workers, and retain existing workers who are not yet on a career path. It also hopes it will lower the age of the average apprentice, which is currently 27.
The program intends to offer one-to-one coaching, job leads and work experience.
The industry estimates there will be 27,630 job openings in construction by 2027 in B.C. as a result of a construction boom and loss of workers due to retirement.
Applications for the program, which intends to help 300 workers, will open in August.