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BC funds retraining, work experience for 25 Interior forestry workers


January 29, 2020
By BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Up to 25 British Columbians who have been affected by the downturn in the forest sector will receive training and work experience in asphalt paving and heavy construction, thanks to more than $450,000 in provincial government funding.

“We know that heavy equipment operators and similar construction occupations will be in great demand over the next 10 years,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The provincial government is working with industry and unions to hire trainees and provide training for new career path opportunities that will allow British Columbians to support themselves and their families.”

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 115, in partnership with Emil Anderson Construction, Dawson Blacktop and Dawson Group, is delivering road-building and heavy-construction training programs for people from the Clearwater, Merritt, South Cariboo and Kamloops areas.

“Providing new skills to workers is a much-needed solution to addressing the worker shortage in B.C.,” said Brian Cochrane, business manager, IUOE Local 115. “The IUOE Local 115 is a leader in teaching new workers heavy equipment operating skills and is proud to be working with the B.C. government to train them to rise above in B.C.’s Interior communities.”

Participants’ training will include classroom instruction in computer and communications skills, technical training in asphalt paving and heavy equipment operations, on-the-job work experience with an IUOE Local 115 signatory employer, and follow-up support and mentoring to help participants find jobs in the road-building and heavy-construction industry.

“Our priority is supporting workers and their families when it comes to the challenges facing British Columbia’s forestry sector,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Training and employment opportunities like this help impacted workers expand their skills and open up more job options for them, enabling them to support themselves and their families.”

The Roadworks in the B.C. Interior Project Based Labour Market Training (PBLMT) project is recruiting for Feb. 18 and April 6, 2020, start dates in Kamloops and 100 Mile House. There are spaces for 25 participants in the two projects. Anyone interested in applying or attending an information session can contact their local WorkBC centre or IUOE Training Association: IUOEtraining@iuoe115.ca

“We are making investments in the Interior to support the forestry workers, their families and communities impacted by the challenges facing our forestry sector,” said Ravi Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This employment program will help meet the immediate needs facing many forestry workers and provide them with additional employment opportunities.”