Apprenticeship fund thrives with $5 million paid to B.C.’s construction industry
The BC Construction Association (BCCA) has sent out $5 million in its Red Seal apprenticeship drive to construction companies in B.C. BCCA says that this is one of the most far-reaching Red Seal apprenticeship drives in B.C.
The Muchalat Group of Companies, a Vancouver Island construction company, has registered four first-year apprentices through the program and received a total of $40,000 in financial incentives as a result. The fourth payment hit BCCA's $5 million milestone at BCCA.
"This is an easy program for employers to take advantage of, and I encourage any contractors who are getting ready to register first-year Red Seal apprentices to contact BCCA first," says Tania Formosa, owner of The Muchalat Group of Companies. "If you don't, you're leaving money on the table plain and simple. I don't know any contractors who can afford to do that these days."
The BCCA will pay employers $5,000 for each first-year apprentice registered in any of 39 construction Red Seal trades, and an additional $5,000 if the apprentice self-identifies as part of an equity-deserving group, with funding received from the Government of Canada Apprenticeship Service. BCCA, which launched its program in October 2022, has already sent payments to 469 employers who have registered a total of 692 apprentices in B.C. so far.
"We're thrilled to reach the $5 million milestone and ready to send millions more to B.C. construction employers before the program ends March 31, 2024," says Chris Atchison, BCCA president. "There are no strings attached to how the funding should be spent once it's received, and we're hearing from employers that the extra cash is very welcome right now."
So far, the BCCA program has registered apprentices in 33 trades, with the most registrations happening for carpenters, construction electricians, and plumbers. The apprentices are from across B.C. and range in age from 16 and up and are 47.8 percent equity deserving groups. Adding diversity to BC's construction industry, which is 96 percent male, is one of the goals of the program, but the funding is available to support all new apprentices regardless of demographics.
"I'm excited to become a first-year apprentice and glad that my employer is able to access this money to offset the cost of training me," says Amanda Muise, a newly minted first-year carpentry apprentice. "The funds made it an easier decision to promote me and the three other apprentices that my employer has registered through the program."
The Muchalat Group of Companies has operated on Central Vancouver Island since 1979.
This opportunity is funded by the Government of Canada's Apprenticeship Service, which has provided $21 million in funding to the BCCA to operate as an intermediary with employers.
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