By Matt Jones
By Matt Jones
In June, the Department of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour announced that it would provide $575,000 over three years to the Indigenous Training Partnerships Project (ITPP), which will be delivered by B.C.’s International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 Training Association. The funding supports the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment to help enhance the training that the Local 115 are able to provide. The funding is provided through the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP).
“Canada’s changing economy reinforces why skills training is so important for Canadians,” says Christopher Simard, spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada. “Continuous technological change puts pressure on training providers to ensure trainees are developing the right skills needed on the jobsites.”
Local 115 training administrator Jeff Gorham says that the funding has been used to purchase a Manitowoc 8500 hydraulic crane, as well as a CAT excavator. Local 115’s previous cranes were a pair of friction driven machines from the late ’60s and early ’70s; which are not made anymore or found as commonly in the industry.
“It was important to us to upgrade our fleet to something more current and more relevant to what our operators will be seeing when they get out to work,” says Gorham. “As a training provider, to be relevant to what’s happening in the industry means we need to be training on equipment that’s relevant.”
The new crane was chosen in consultation with an industry committee to ensure the choice best reflected industry’s actual needs. The two previous friction driven cranes will continue to be used, as that type of crane still sees some use in the province’s water-based industries, but the addition of a new model will augment Local 115’s training offerings.
UTIP provides $25 million of funding through two streams. Stream 1, which includes the ITPP, will provide up to 50 per cent of the cost of new equipment and material purchases. Stream 2 supports innovating approaches to address complex challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes, including barriers to participation and success in the trades for groups such as Indigenous people, women, persons with disabilities, newcomers and racialized persons.
“Apprentices will have the opportunity to use high-quality equipment to develop improved skills, and progress through their training,” says Simard. “This practical experience will help the apprentices, including Indigenous people and women succeed as they enter the workforce in their Red Seal trade.”
“Through its financial support for the IUOE Training Association, the Government of Canada has shown that it recognizes the value of trades training,” stated IUOE Local 115 business manager Brian Cochrane. “This equipment will ensure a training focus on safety and quality, and help us to build a skilled and inclusive workforce for the future.”