This week (Nov. 5-11) is Apprenticeship Recognition Week in B.C. and North Island College is getting involved.
NIC offers foundation and apprenticeship programming spanning the construction, mechanical, electrical, industrial and culinary trades.
“The awareness and acknowledgement of the importance of apprentices and skilled trades across the region and our province is very significant,” said Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of trades and technical programs. “Skilled apprentices and trades professionals are essential to our regional and provincial economy.”
Annually NIC provides trades programming for more than 600 full-time equivalent (FTE) apprentices who are supported by our regional employers and leaders.
“The support from regional employers is vital and very much appreciated,” said O’Connell. “NIC is proud to be delivering relevant and timely trades education with curriculum that is informed by industry and endorsed by the Industry Training Authority.”
The apprenticeship model provides trades students the opportunity to gain core theoretical and applied skills while also earning hours towards their Red Seal designation – the interprovincial standard of excellence in the skilled trades.
“The Red Seal provides a nationally recognized certification acknowledging your skills and experience as a tradesperson,” said Doug Podetz, the Industry Training Authority’s Vancouver Island (North) apprenticeship advisor. “It demonstrates that you meet the standards for journeypersons and provides greater mobility for skilled workers across Canada.”
According to the ITA, there are currently more than 3,200 apprentices and 2,500 employer sponsors on the North Island, with that number expected to grow along with the demand for skilled tradespeople. The 2025 BC Labour Market Outlook projects there will be 13,900 construction job openings on Vancouver Island in the coming years.
“Being a tradesperson is an incredibly rewarding career and the demand for skilled workers is on the rise,” said Podetz. “Whether you’re fresh out of school or looking for a career change, there’s never been a better time to start your training.”
Seats are still available for the January intakes for NIC’s foundation level carpentry, welding, plumbing and piping, and electrical programs – the first step to working toward a Red Seal.
Full schedules for all levels of apprenticeship training can be found at nic.bc.ca/trades.