A $3.9 million grant from the B.C. government is being put toward attracting skilled workers to highway maintenance industry jobs around the province.
The British Columbia Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association will be using the grant to stand up its talent attraction program within the highway maintenance and general road building sector. The implementation of the program will be in the spring of 2024 and reach completion in the spring of 2026.
Over the next 10 years, there will be more than one million jobs projected to open in B.C. with 7 per cent of those coming from the construction sector. There is a labour shortage in the construction sector and the government aims to fill it with grants like the one given to the association according to Work BC.
“We want to put the amazing job opportunities on the map for people who might not have considered it as a career path in the past,” said Matt Pitcairn, vice president of the British Columbia Road Builders and Construction Association. It could be youth, immigrants, veterans or someone just looking for a change the association wants to show the opportunities in the industry.
The duration of the grant is over three years and during this time the association will purchase a trailer to take across the province and different communities to show the job opportunities in the sector.
Technology will also play a key role in this cross-country tour, with state-of-the-art simulators from right here in Canada to pique the interest of prospective employees on board the trailer. They will have construction simulators, snowplow simulators and also a virtual reality to show off the perspective opportunities in the industry.
“During the duration of the grant, we want to go to as many different communities and get them in the seats of these simulators and give them a feel for what it is like in our industry,” Pitcairn said. After working in the simulators if they are interested and want to get into the industry, the association will get them in touch with one of the members to get real-life job opportunities.
Each person that takes part in these simulators will receive a participation certificate that will recognize their engagement and involvement in the program according to the association.