The B.C. government has proclaimed this as B.C. Apprenticeship Recognition Week and there are few places in the province where the role of apprentices is more obvious than at Okanagan College, B.C.’s second-largest trades training institution.
“This week we have 310 apprentices in class at the College,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Think about the impact they have and the role they play in our economy as they finish their studies and return to work.”
One of the many places they are working is at the College itself. An example is Tyler Tetlock, a journeyman carpenter who is helping the College build for the future.
“Okanagan College helped prepare me for my career, so I’m very proud to help build a space where thousands of others will train towards a career in the trades,” said Tetlock, who is an Assistant Superintendent for PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., the company spearheading construction of the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus.
When doors open next spring, the new complex along KLO Road will provide room for more than 2,600 students to train each year—including the approximately 1,500 who will pursue Red Seal Apprentice-level training.
In addition to acknowledging current students and alumni, the College also wants to salute another key player in the apprenticeship process next week—employers.
“The participation of employers is crucial to apprenticeship,” said the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “We are very grateful to all of the businesses and individuals that hire and endorse our apprentices and are supportive of the apprenticeship process.”
Another alumnus helping the College build for a bright future for trades in the Okanagan is fellow carpenter Chuck Cullen, a Project Manager for TEAM Construction. For several years now Cullen has delivered spotlight sessions at local high schools about career paths in the trades.
“My apprenticeship training at Okanagan College was very valuable,” said Cullen. “So I’m proud to share my positive experience with young people who are considering their options for trades training.”
Between now and 2024, the province forecasts job openings for 2,346 carpenters in the Thompson Okanagan region alone. The estimates suggest there will be job openings for nearly 2,200 cooks, chefs, and bakers in the region. Overall, there is call for more than 10,750 tradespeople in professions that Okanagan College teaches in the region in the same period.
Last year, the provincial government proclaimed Nov. 7 as B.C.’s inaugural Apprenticeship Recognition Day to help raise awareness of the importance of developing a highly trained and skilled workforce amid a projected labour shortage in the trades sector over the next decade.
The proclamation has been expanded this year, with the government calling for a full week (November 2-6) recognizing the positive impact that apprentices have on individuals, businesses, and the economy in B.C. Read the full proclamation here.
More information about the College’s Apprenticeship and Foundation (Pre-Apprenticeship) training programs is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/trades.