B.C. apprenticeship campaign reaches $5M milestone

Officials say millions of dollars more are still waiting to be claimed.

Carpentry students learn skills at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. – BCIT

Key Takeaways:

  • The BCCA has given away more than $5 million to employers that took on first year apprentices
  • 469 employers have registered a total of 692 apprentices in B.C. so far
  • The most registrations are for carpenters, construction electricians, and plumbers. 

The Whole Story:

A Vancouver Island construction company found itself in the spotlight last month as it received what turned out to be the 5 millionth dollar paid out so far under one of the most far-reaching Red Seal apprenticeship drives undertaken in B.C.

The company, The Muchalat Group of Companies, has registered four first year apprentices through the BC Construction Association (BCCA) Apprenticeship Services, and received a total of $40,000 in financial incentives as a result. The fourth payment hit the $5 Million milestone at BCCA.

“This is an easy program for employers to take advantage of, and I encourage any contractors who are getting ready to register first year Red Seal apprentices to contact BCCA first,” said Tania Formosa, owner of The Muchalat Group of Companies. “If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table plain and simple. I don’t know any contractors who can afford to do that these days.”

The BCCA will pay employers $5,000 for each first year apprentice registered in any of 39 construction Red Seal trades, and an additional $5,000 if the apprentice self identifies as part of an equity deserving group, with funding received from the Government of Canada Apprenticeship Service. 

BCCA, which launched its program in October 2022, has already sent payments to 469 employers who have registered a total of 692 apprentices in B.C. so far.

“We’re thrilled to reach the $5 million milestone and ready to send millions more to BC construction employers before the program ends March 31, 2024,” says Chris Atchison, BCCA president. “There are no strings attached to how the funding should be spent once it’s received, and we’re hearing from employers that the extra cash is very welcome right now.”

So far, the BCCA program has registered apprentices in 33 trades, with the most registrations happening for carpenters, construction electricians, and plumbers. The apprentices are from across BC, range in age from 16 and up, and are 47.8% equity deserving groups. Adding diversity to BC’s construction industry, which is 96% male, is one of the goals of the program, but the funding is available to support all new apprentices regardless of demographics.

“I’m excited to become a first year apprentice and glad that my employer is able to access this money to offset the cost of training me,” says Amanda Muise, a newly minted first year carpentry apprentice. “The funds made it an easier decision to promote me and the three other apprentices that my employer has registered through the program.”

The Muchalat Group of Companies has operated on Central Vancouver Island since 1979 providing general contracting services, construction management services, and building envelope renovations.

This opportunity is funded by the government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service, which has provided $21 million in funding to the BC Construction Association to operate as an intermediary with employers.


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