Skilled trades shortage expected in the northeast

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Photo:  Industry Training Authority CEO Kevin Evans speaks before the Chamber of Commerce – Adam Reaburn/Energeticcity.ca

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Local businesses need to start preparing for the oncoming skills and labour gap in Northeastern B.C.

That’s the message Kevin Evans from the Industry Training Authority brought to the Fort St. John Chamber of Commerce. Evans says the Northeast has more people employed in the skilled trades than anywhere else in British Columbia.

However, in a B.C. Labour Market scenario model, the Northeast will need over 3,000 skilled trades people by 2019. The majority will be needed to replace people who are retiring and the rest will be required due to economic growth.

Following questions, Evans pointed out the numbers are based on information available today and don’t account for possible changes if projects like Site C are approved and the price of natural gas increases.

According to Evans the local business community can help solve problem.

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According to Evans, Northern Lights College and School District 60 are leading the way in providing programming for skilled trades, but he still believes local businesses need to do more to accept apprenticeships.

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