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Shortage of Trades Workers Continues to Grow

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Construction companies on Vancouver Island face increasing difficulty in finding enough skilled trades workers for their projects.

Vancouver Island Construction Association CEO Rory Kulmala says there are currently record levels of construction on the island, but contractors face a challenge filling positions.

“They’re just not able to find the workers to do the work that’s needed.”

He says the situation is now having an impact on the ability of contractors to deliver on time.

Kulmala says contractors have maximized their workforce and there’s “increased pressure on projects that are required right now,” so there’s a need to find creative ways to attract new people into the sector.

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He says the problem has been growing over several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation.

Kulmala says the Island has excellent training programs but needs to boost capacity.

“Camosun, Vancouver Island University, both regional training centres for us are at capacity effectively. North Island College, again, they’re at capacity to meet the demand of what they have thus far, I know some programs have waiting lists of up to two years”

Kulmala says more people are retiring from trades than are entering.

The Vancouver Island Construction Association predicts a shortage of 10-thousand skilled trades workers by 2027.

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