WATCH: North Island College expands training as the construction industry says many contractors can’t find skilled workers.
Construction sites across Vancouver Island are busy with trades people as new buildings take shape.
One site at North Island College (NIC) in Campbell River is significant because it's a new trades training facility that will feed an industry desperate for skilled workers.
"Currently right now we're looking at residential growth which is unseen or unheard of here in quite some time so the home building is a part of it as well as the renovations and upgrades but also the commercial infrastructure that we're going to be seeing, the improvements there," said NIC Electrical Foundations instructor Jason Taylor.
Problem is, contractors can't find enough skilled workers.
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC says:
“The need is intense. Every single glass company we surveyed this year said they needed more glaziers. For pipefitting companies, 93 per cent said they needed more help; sheet metal workers, 91 per cent; electricians and plumbers, 89 per cent. The message is clear: if you want to work in construction, there’s a job out there for you.”
On Vancouver Island 49 per cent of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 76 per cent say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, labourers and framers.
AtNIC they're adding dozens of spaces in training programs to meet the demand.
"Well right now North Island College has had quite a long wait list for the electrical, the plumbing and carpentry so what they’ve done is brought on instructors like myself and others from different areas to teach some of these additional classes that they’re having to bring online to deal with some of that volume," said Electrical Foundations instructor David Johns.
Students range from high school graduates to mature students retraining because they see the demand.
The college also has an agreement with the local school district where high school students take a course that exposes them to several different trades so they can decide which one they like best.
The guarantee of a job at graduation is a huge draw for students but so are the wages that are expected to rise 10 per cent over the next two years, twice the rate of inflation.