Hot Jobs: May 10, 2024

Andrew Hansen is the founder and CEO of SitePartners, a specialized marketing and consulting agency built to serve the industrial sector. He recently joined Breakthrough Academy’s  Contractor Evolution podcast to discuss employer branding, workforce development and major shifts in the B2B market. Check out his insights below or listen to the full podcast here.

Whether you’ve invested in it or not, right now your brand is talking to buyers, job seekers and the industry as a whole.

What’s it saying? 

Employer brands have  become especially important in recent years as construction’s labour crisis has worsened and businesses compete for talent. It has become a massive part of the work we do at SitePartners, a specialized marketing and consulting agency built to serve the industrial sector.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, much of our time was spent helping our clients attract the right work. Now, as the industry has continued to grow and demand has taken off, roughly half of our focus has shifted to helping clients attract and retain the right people.

While many firms invest a lot into their marketing programs, not much of that is geared toward recruitment and building an employer brand that attracts talent. But whether you spend time and money on it or not, job seekers will form a perception of your company. 

Own your story

Here’s something we stress to our clients: If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. A big first step is reflecting on your organization and its place in the industry. Take some time to understand the unique things about your business that make it what it is. Once you’ve zeroed in on that, don’t shy away from it. Be bold. Own it completely. 

SitePartners founder and CEO Andrew Hansen on the Contractor Evolution podcast.

This will scare away some candidates, but attract ones who align with your work and the culture you have created. At SitePartners, we are proud to be a specialized firm that only serves the industrial sector. 

For many professionals, it’s not the kind of work that interests them, and that’s OK. The ones who do apply are excited about industrial work. They love forestry, big machines, manufacturing, wearing steel-toe boots and being on a job site. That increases the chance of a successful recruitment journey. 

Create a tailored experience

As the demographics of industrial workers shift towards younger candidates, expectations for the hiring process are also changing. 

These workers are used to using polished tools like Amazon, Netflix and Instagram. They’re used to a consumer-level experience tailored to them. 

Fumbling around uploading PDFs and getting stuck on clunky third-party sites or a company site with low-quality photo and video assets is a bad experience. It’s also a huge missed opportunity for you to communicate your company brand and what working there will be like. If you really care about that employee experience, own that touchpoint from start to finish. Candidates will feel it and it will put you a step above your competitors.

And if you control that experience, you can get your message and assets in front of those candidates. Choosing a job is one of the biggest decisions someone can make, aside from buying a house or finding a spouse. They are going to pick through your website and social media channels to see what your story is. The application and hiring experience says a lot to potential employees about what a company will be like to work for.

Make it personal

Yes. I can almost hear you rolling your eyes through the screen. But hear me out. Investing in your personal brand pays off.

Rather than only posting jobs and content on a corporate page, post using your personal account. If you have invested time in building your brand as an executive and industry leader, this will drive results. This can be a passionate story about the kind of candidate you are looking for with dynamic photos. It will always outperform a corporate page post.

But this means posting even when you aren’t seeking employees. You started your business for a reason. Post about it. Talk about it. Be dynamic. Be personable. It may take you out of your comfort zone but if you are authentic, people will see that. This is incredibly useful for job seekers. They want to know the type of people they could be working for.

Tell an authentic story

Storytelling works. It’s something humans have been drawn to for thousands of years. We are hooked by a good story. Use that in your messaging. If you had someone join you as a labourer and they worked their way up to vice president, that’s a captivating story. This is something that the biggest construction brands do on a daily basis. You can too.

Good talent isn’t looking for a job tomorrow. They are educating themselves over time. So telling those stories consistently is key. 

Authenticity is just as important. Don’t be somebody you’re not. Talk on social media the same way you do to your employees. If you attract talent and they get hired, they will find that out anyway. During our interview process at SitePartners, we almost try to scare people away, telling them up front that the work is hard, it’s dynamic and we move fast. We want to be clear about what it’s like to work here so people know what they are signing up for. 

You don’t need to make a huge financial investment or hire a big marketing firm to start getting results. Here are a few quick steps that any company can take to get started:

  1. Audit your current brand: Look at your job ads, your website, and your application process to see how you are perceived in the marketplace and how you are presenting. What story are you telling? Have someone apply to your company and ask them how the experience was.  
  2. Define that position: Now that you know the current status of your brand, spend some time defining what you want your company’s position in the industry to be. Does it match the results of your audit?  
  3. Interview your top performers: You have access to an invaluable resource—people you have successfully attracted and retained. Talk to them to find out why. Ask them why they applied, why they have stayed, and what their experience was like. 
  4. Own it: Once you have a clear idea of your company brand and its position, consistently push out that content on all your channels. Make sure the content is aligned. If you are starting from scratch, this will take time, but it is a worthwhile investment. When you do have a role you need filled, you can leverage your brand to pull in the right people. 

B2B Data highlights the importance of branding

At SitePartners, all of our work is driven by data and strategy. We never go into a creative process blind hoping for the best. The data shows that it isn’t just the workforce that’s shifting. The entire B2B sector is changing.

Research shows 94% of B2B buyers considering a major purchase are researching products or services online before ever contacting a salesperson. And by the time they do, they are 57% of the way through their decision-making process. These customers are engaging with your brand and forming a perception about your company before they even talk to you. 

Buyers of complex deals spend roughly 17% of their time talking to sales. And if they are talking to three vendors, a common situation, they are only talking to you for an even smaller percentage of that time. Not only that, nearly half of these B2B buyers are under 40 and extremely comfortable using digital channels. They expect a polished digital experience. Research also shows that these major B2B decisions are only being made once every five years, meaning that only 20% of your customers are looking to spend in 2024. 

With so little direct contact with digitally sophisticated, young B2B buyers, how do you stand out?

You have to use your brand. Those buyers are still consuming case studies, project announcements, social media posts, website copy and interacting with your brand in the years leading up to that big purchase. The benefits of investing time in your brand can be huge. Roughly 16% of B2B buyers found that if a brand’s content was useful to them, they went on to buy their product or service and 33% noted that if the content was high quality it gave them a positive perception of the company. 

Your company’s brand is communicating with the industry right now. Are you in control of what it’s saying?

Senior Construction Estimator – Surrey, B.C. – Western Pacific Enterprises

Project Manager, Construction – Mississauga, Ont. – Bird Construction

Senior Project Manager – Vancouver, B.C. – Govan Brown & Associates

Director of Capital Projects – Halifax, N.S. – Government of Nova Scotia

Preconstruction Manager – Vancouver, B.C. – Wesgroup Properties

Director, Building Services – London, Ont. – City of London

Operations Vice President – Vancouver, B.C. – Gryphon Development

Director of Construction – Calgary, Alta. – FLINT Corp

CEO – Edmonton, Alta. – Award Construction

Key Takeaways:

  • Ontario will prioritize permits for students pursuing programs in high-demand areas, including skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality and child care. 
  • Officials say the change is in response to the federal governments cap on international student study permits.
  • 96% of permit applications will go to publicly assisted colleges and universities while career colleges will receive none.
  • The province said it intents to assist schools by helping them transition to programming that is aligned with labour market needs.

The Whole Story:

In response to the federal government’s cap on the number of international student study permit applications over the next two years, Ontario announced plans to prioritize public postsecondary programs for in-demand careers, including the skilled trades.

“We are protecting the integrity of our province’s postsecondary education system by attracting the best and brightest international students to Ontario to study in areas that are critical to our economy,” said Jill Dunlop, minister of colleges and universities. “We have been working with postsecondary institutions to ensure international students are enrolled in the programs to support a pipeline of graduates for in-demand jobs.”

Ontario says it will allocate 96% of permit applications to publicly assisted colleges and universities, with the remaining 4% allotted to Ontario’s language schools, private universities and other institutions. Career colleges will not receive any applications.

Applications will be allocated to institutions based on the following criteria:

  • Prioritize programs in the following high-demand areas, including skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality and child care.
  • Cannot exceed the institution’s 2023 permit levels.
  • As a final backstop, the ratio of international permits cannot exceed 55% (exclusive of high-demand areas) of the institution’s 2023 first-year domestic enrolment.

French-language enrolment will also be prioritized as employers compete for workers with French-language skills. The government says it will work with colleges and universities to support them in standing up and transitioning to programming that is aligned with labour market needs and support Ontario’s economic growth.

To protect international postsecondary students and ensure they have a positive and rewarding experience when studying in Ontario, the government:

  • Is taking action requiring all publicly assisted colleges and universities to have a guarantee that housing options are available for incoming international students.
  • Invested over $32 million in 2023-24 to support the mental health of all postsecondary students. This includes funding provided directly to postsecondary institutions through multiple grants.
  • Introduced the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024 that would, if passed, aim to enhance the student experience by putting in place additional measures to support mental health, safe and inclusive campuses and allow for increased transparency of fees, benefiting all students including international students.

International students may apply for a post-graduation work permit after graduating from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. Ontario approves DLIs under the joint provincial-federal International Student Program. DLIs are eligible to enrol international students in programs of study six months in duration or longer on a study permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

As part of the changes announced by the federal government in January 2024, international students who begin a program at a publicly assisted college that is delivered through a private partner will not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit starting on May 15, 2024.

Key Takeaways:

  • The initiative has resulted in the hiring and registering of 2075 apprentices in 37 Red Seal trades, and sent payments to more than 1020 qualified employers.
  • These payments totalled more than $15.725 million and went to businesses that took on apprentices.
  • It targeted small- and medium-sized construction employers to help them overcome the financial barriers inherent in hiring and training first-year apprentices.
  • The Apprenticeship Services program formally closes on March 31.

The Whole Story:

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) announced that it has completed delivery on the most far-reaching construction trade apprenticeship drive ever undertaken in B.C., surpassing its funding objective by $2.280 million. The Apprenticeship Services workforce development program was financed through the Government of Canada’s Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Apprenticeship Service. The BCCA noted that the initiative was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. 

Employers who registered up to four first-year apprentices in BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program could qualify to earn up to $40,000 in cash incentives over two years. Since launching in September 2022, the financial incentives offered through Apprenticeship Services have resulted in the hiring and registering of 2075 apprentices in 37 Red Seal trades, and sent payments to more than 1020 qualified employers. Over $15.725 million has been injected into the B.C. economy through BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program.

“I’m proud of the team at BCCA who delivered the Apprenticeship Services project ahead of schedule and under budget, far exceeding important targets set by the Federal government. In addition, we were able to transfer $780,000 from our operational budget into the program as a result of our team’s efficiencies, to the direct benefit of BC’s construction employers and apprentices,” states BCCA President Chris Atchison. “Canadian taxpayers deserve nothing less than the efficient and reliable stewardship exemplified by BCCA’s outstanding management of programs like Apprenticeship Services.”

Leveraging its strong industry network and a highly successful Builders Life ad campaign, BCCA surpassed important funder targets, including in the amount of financial incentives paid and the diversity of apprentices. In addition, Apprenticeship Services drove program participants to key industry partners such as SkilledTradesBC.

The province-wide initiative was delivered to small- and medium-sized construction employers to help them overcome the financial barriers inherent in hiring and training first-year apprentices. In-demand trades such as electrical and plumbing benefitted from financial incentives.

“At a time when BC’s construction industry faces critical workforce shortages, BCCA has stepped up to support employers through workforce development programs like Apprenticeship Services,” continues Atchison. “We’re doing our part to mitigate the ongoing workforce shortage in construction. The current and foreseeable gap is too large to meet BC’s very real housing and infrastructure needs.”

A total of 1338 Apprenticeship Services program employers became signatories of the Builders Code Acceptable Worksite Culture Pledge, as part of a BCCA support and training program designed to improve worksite culture, increase worker attraction and retention, and eliminate harassment, bullying, hazing and discrimination. Continuing to improve and strengthen diversity within BC’s construction industry was a key component of funding objectives and remains an ongoing goal of the BCCA.

BCCA’s Apprenticeship Services program formally closes on March 31, 2024.

Key Takeaways:

  • BuildForce’s analysis found that the system currently and disproportionately favours applicants with high education levels.
  • Individuals with apprenticeship certificates or non-apprenticeable trade certificates accounted for only 4% of total admissions for principal applicant landed immigrants between 1980 and 2021.
  • BuildForce called for a series of reform principles to be adopted, including more transparency, awarding selections based on domestic labour needs and supporting competencies-based skills assessments for foreign credential recognition.

The Whole Story:

A new report from BuildForce Canada found that the nation’s immigration system favours university-educated applicants.

BuildForce officials stated that changes are needed to the immigration system to ensure the construction sector can respond to growth, and deliver on key public-policy priorities such as building new housing and greening infrastructure.

The report found that of the 1.3 million principal applicant landed immigrants admitted between 1980 and 2021 still in the labour force, 69% held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Individuals with apprenticeship certificates or non-apprenticeable trade certificates accounted for only 4% of total admissions. Looking just at individuals in the  labour force, between 1980 and 1990, university-educated individuals made up 34% of total primary applicant admissions, while individuals with apprenticeship and non-apprenticeable trade certificates 9%. Between 2016 and 2021, the combined university educated primary applicants admitted accounted for 75%  of primary applicant admissions, whereas non-apprenticeable and apprenticeship certificate holders had declined to just 2%.

BuildForce stated that it believes further evidence of the bias in the selection criteria can be found in the 2022 Express Entry Year-end Report. In 2022, 46% of the candidates receiving ITAs (invitation to apply) held master’s degrees, 40% had post-secondary credentials of three or more years, and 4% held PhDs. Of the top 15 professions receiving ITAs, software engineers received the greatest number of ITAs at 3,848. Despite the strong demand for healthcare and construction workers since 2020, no professions in demand in these sectors were found in the top 15. However, since 2020, 2,778 university professors and lecturers received ITAs; 955 alone were granted ITAs in 2022. 

The report was developed with input from an industry Steering Committee consisting of representatives from Canada’s Building Trades Unions, the Canadian Construction Association, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, Merit Canada, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada.

 It recommends the adoption of a series of consensus principles by governments to ensure the construction sector can better access skilled workers from abroad in an effort to address projected shortages of skilled labour created by rising construction demands and changing demographics.

“Construction activity is projected to grow across the country over the next decade, driven by more than $450 billion worth of non-residential projects that are taking place across the country and renewed growth in the residential sector in the middle and later years of the 2020s,” said Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “Our labour market information models, which do not take into account additional labour demands created by the impetus to build millions of new housing units or to meet Canada’s net-zero targets, suggest that the industry could face a recruiting gap of more than 85,000 workers by 2033. Closing this gap will require the industry to hire from a variety of sources, including from among the hundreds of thousands of new permanent and non-permanent residents that are projected to be admitted to Canada in the coming years. The difficulty is, the system does not currently support this objective.”

The report found that Canada’s immigration system favours university-educated applicants. BuildForce noted that absent change, this may create challenges for the construction sector, which depends on recruiting large numbers of individuals with trade certificates or other competencies that are currently overlooked in the immigration process. Particularly in demand are technical trades and transportation officers and controllers (NOC Category 7), which collectively account for more than three-quarters of the total construction labour force, and who have struggled to obtain entry under Canada’s existing Express Entry system.

To better support industries like construction that are strongly dependent on skilled trades workers, the BuildForce report recommends four guiding reform principles be adopted.

  1. Address educational bias in the Express Entry selection system

The system currently and disproportionately favours applicants with high education levels. In so doing, it effectively excludes others who possess the valuable skills or the willingness to work in construction that Canada requires. The system should be reformed to better reflect domestic labour force priorities, and award additional selection points based on those needs. Doing so would increase the likelihood that skilled and unskilled trade workers would be invited to apply for immigration under industry-specific, Provincial Nominee Program, and general Express Entry intakes.

  1. Better align federal and provincial immigration policies, and increase transparency

Immigration is a shared responsibility among the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Given that the provinces and territories now comprise more than half of the total immigration selections annually, greater coordination is required among these programs and with the federal system to ensure that goals are transparent and aligned, and to enable industry to coordinate domestic training and recruitment programs with the projected inflow of permanent residents.

  1. Ensure industry involvement in labour market planning, analysis and recruitment

The federal government should consult more broadly with Canadian industries, including the construction sector, when establishing national immigration targets. Doing so will ensure selection policies and priorities better align with domestic labour market requirements.

  1. Support competencies-based skills assessments for foreign credential recognition

Although credential recognition is within the purview of the provinces and territories, the federal government can and should play a role in ensuring the provinces and territories adopt competencies-based skills assessments of foreign credentials. Doing so can help ensure individuals with foreign credentials are matched to job opportunities that align with their skills.

“While the construction industry will always prioritize the recruitment of domestic workers, the changing career preferences of Canadian youth and rising retirement levels have made it more challenging for the industry to keep pace with accelerating construction demands,” said Sean Strickland, chair of BuildForce Canada. “Aligning immigration priorities more closely with the current and future needs of Canadian industries is therefore imperative.”

BuildForce added that implementing these reforms will enable Canada to build a more adaptable and responsive immigration framework that effectively addresses the acute skilled labour shortages faced by industries like construction, and which contribute to the continued growth and prosperity of Canada’s economy and society.

Key Takeaways:

  • The city is expected to experience 29,100 construction job openings, 6% of total job openings in the coming decade. 
  • Three out of four job openings within the construction industry will result from the need to replace workers over the forecast period.
  • Some of the reports recommendations include focusing immigration on skilled workers, targeting underrepresented groups, easing job requirements and creating incentives to attract surplus labour from other provinces.

The Whole Story:

Construction is one of five industries that will experience the most job openings in Calgary over the next decade, a new report predicts. 

Calgary Economic Region Labour Market Outlook 2024-2033, the city’s first economic regional-level labour market outlook to provide detailed labour market projections has been released. It includes a 10-year assessment of the expected gap between labour demand and supply within the Calgary Economic Region.

The report assesses what is responsible for changes in the demand and supply of jobs and estimates future supply and demand by industry, occupation, and education. After providing a long-term assessment of potential labour market imbalances in the region, the report suggests policy changes to help address the identified labour market imbalances.

“The key takeaway from the Labour Market Outlook is that the Calgary Economic Region is expected to experience dynamic labour market conditions and challenges over the next decade. During the current budget cycle, the CER labour market will experience labour surpluses driven by increases in population and labour supply, but the Outlook also shows that we should anticipate labour shortages in specific occupations in the next budget cycle”, said Carla Male, The city’s chief financial officer. 

Zooming in on construction, the sector is expected to experience 29,100 job openings, 6% of total job openings for the next decade. 

Key highlights include:

  • Over the next 10 years, the Calgary Region is expected to offer 479,000 positions to job seekers. Economic growth is expected to drive job openings within the current budget cycle. However, replacing aging workers will be the primary driver of job openings in the long term, as it is estimated that one in every six Calgarians will be at least 65 years or older by 2030.
  •  Hiring challenges that began after the pandemic are expected to ease within the current budget cycle (2023-2026) as the number of job seekers exceeds the number of job openings as net migration reaches record highs. This labour surplus will be driven by the federal government’s plan to attract 985,000 workers (and their families), coupled with Calgary’s relative housing affordability.
  • The next budget cycle (2027-2030) will see a different trend driven by a shortage in labour supply. The combination of economic expansion as interest rates moderate, coupled with a slowdown in population growth will lead to a slowdown in job seekers and surge in job openings. Without compensating policy actions, some labour market imbalances are expected to re-emerge in key occupations between 2027 and 2030.
  • Five Industries are expected to account for half of all job openings over the next 10 years: construction; professional, scientific and technical services; health care and social assistance; retail trade, accommodation and food services.
  • Some industries are forecast to have surplus labour. These include: Auditors,

Accountants, and investment professionals; helpers, labourers (warehouse workers and material handlers); insurance, real estate and financial sales occupations; retail and wholesale trade managers; elementary and kindergarten schoolteachers. 

The report’s authors explained that Calgary’s construction industry is currently facing shortages, delaying projects while raising price fluctuation risks. While job vacancies have declined for three consecutive quarters as of Q2 2023, job vacancies remain elevated. 

“Construction jobs are still a primary contributing factor to the elevated job vacancies within the region,” they wrote. “Record high net migration and relative affordability have increased demand for housing construction. On the other hand, an aging workforce and a drop in construction trade enrolments have contributed to the slow growth in the supply of construction workers. As a result, close to three out of four job openings within the construction industry will result from the need to replace workers over the forecast period.”

They added that unless policies targets individuals with the skills to work in construction, immigration numbers may not necessarily ease some current and projected shortages.

These were their overall recommendations: 

  • Immigration support and advocacy to attract people with the right skills. 
  • Support for easing regulation and licensing requirements.
  • Introducing mobility incentives to attract surplus labour from other provinces.
  • Increased municipal government advocacy for provincial government investment in education and training programs for occupations with acute shortages.
  • Increasing job market participation by underrepresented groups, especially encouraging youth and women’s participation in the labour force.

Construction is so much more than hammers, 2x4s and hard hats. Buildings are getting bigger and more complex. At the same time, the demand for projects to have better environmental and cultural outcomes is increasing. This requires more specialized roles. We have compiled a list of some classic construction careers alongside some emerging new ones that are sure to pique your interest.

And if you are looking a new career in construction or want to change roles, check out SiteJobs which features some of the best, high-level positions the industry has to offer.

Drone pilot

Most people pay for the privilege to play with drones. These workers make their living doing it. Contractors mostly use drones for photography. According to PCL, Aerial site photos and videos can help streamline inspections and site mapping, which helps construction companies identify problems on-site, track construction progress, assist with digital mapping and more. This can massively reduce costs for clients. On a recent SaskPower project in Regina, Saskatchewan, drones helped PCL cut initial inspection costs by 80%. The company also has a drone pilot named Mathew Hawkeye, which just sounds too perfect. 

BIM/VDC manager 

If you like building and exploring the digital world of video games, this might be the field for you. BIM is an architect’s superpower, allowing them to create virtual replicas of structures before a single brick is laid. It’s a digital playground where engineers, architects, and builders collaborate in real-time, making the construction process more efficient and reducing errors. And tools like drones, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and more are likely to make the world of digital buildings have an even more profound impact on the construction process and the entire lifespan of a structure. Who knows? Maybe in the coming years we will even be exploring digital building models with VR goggles on.

Building conservation

Crews prepare to store historic stone pieces as part of the Centre Block restoration project. – Government of Canada

As Canada continues its quest to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, upgrading our aging structures will become more and more critical. Algonquin College announced plans to launch a new program at its Perth campus that aims to produce a new generation of “carpenter-philosophers”. The program, the first of its kind in Canada, grants building conservation students an applied science degree. Students will learn about traditional building methods such as timber framing and log construction, as well as technical writing for reports and grant proposals.

Biologist/environmental consultant 

A snake experts offers their assistance at a TC Energy site. – TC Energy

Construction and critters often don’t mix, so experts have to help make sure their homes and habitats are disrupted as little as possible. This means carefully studying the potential impacts of proposed projects and coming up with mitigation plans. Sometimes this means rescuing hibernating snakes, helping craft wildlife bridges and scheduling work around bird nesting habits. TC Energy, for example, has full-time biologists that monitored snake activity in Southern Alberta.


Indigenous female ironworkers with Local 725 in Calgary recreate iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper”. – Ironworkers Local 725

This is probably the most iconic job in construction. It conjures the image of a worker in overalls and a hard hat expertly navigating giant steel beams high above some busy street. But there’s more to the job than that. Ironworkers do structural, reinforcing, ornamental and even fabricating work. They have a hand in shaping our biggest city’s skylines and even the small details on a metal staircase. You also get to stand atop some of the most iconic structures in the nation as they are going up. Wages range from $27 to $46 an hour

Cyber security

Because of remotely accessible systems, construction is particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Common types of cyberattacks in the industry include installing ransomware, data theft and fraudulent wire transfers. Some of the biggest builders in the nation have fallen victim, costing the sector millions. Recent years have seem the industry begin to harden their defences, including hiring penetration testers or a “red teams” to attack companies to find their vulnerabilities. EllisDon has a dedicated Cybersecurity team that oversees and orchestrates digital security probes its networks for vulnerabilities, educates and protects employees and subcontractors, and vets all digital platforms, employee devices, and third-party software. If you enjoy the cat and mouse game of trying to outsmart digital attacks, this could be the role for you.

Heavy equipment operator 

Remember playing in the sandbox with your Tonka trucks? Imagine doing that but way bigger and you get paid. Heavy equipment operators are experts at using backhoes, bulldozers, loaders and graders to excavate, move, load and grade earth, rock, gravel or other materials during construction and related activities. Depending on the province and your level of experience, these workers can make as much as $45-$57 an hour


This is one of hundreds of fossils unearthed during excavation work for cables and piping in Edmonton, Alta. – Chandos

You probably won’t be dodging traps like Indiana Jones, but you will get to connect with the past, ensure that cultural sites are respected and make historical discoveries. These experts are often called in to assess a site to determine if it’s likely that ancient remains or artifacts might be found and determine the correct actions to take if they are. For example, Last year when a construction crew began to dig beneath the asphalt of a Hydro-Québec parking lot in downtown Montreal weeks ago they found a stone house with a wood floor dating back to sometime between 1801 and 1825.

Key Takeaways:

  • The program is a partnership between the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, the Burnaby Board of Trade, the Burnaby School District and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
  • Through the Bring Trades to Schools program, students can engage in practical workshops and immersive experiences led by industry experts and educators.
  • Organizers believe the initiative will help to encourage more youth to consider a career path in construction trades. 

The Whole Story:

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) has announced a new partnership with the Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT), British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and Burnaby School District.  

 The initiative, titled “Bring Trades to Schools”, seeks to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world applications in the construction industry. Organizers say that bringing trades directly into educational environments will give students invaluable hands-on experience and exposure to various trades, including mechanical, welding, carpentry and electrical, empowering them to explore potential career paths and develop essential skills for future success.

 “This marks a significant milestone for the VRCA team as we inaugurate this innovative initiative! Originating from VRCA’s Education Committee, with valued contributions from our esteemed program partners, the concept has flourished. By bringing trades directly into schools, we aim to inspire and empower the next generation of skilled professionals while working to increase B.C.’s skilled workforce,” said VRCA President Jeannine Martin.

 Through the Bring Trades to Schools program, students can engage in practical workshops and immersive experiences led by industry experts and educators.

 Ryan Leonhard, director of workforce initiatives, Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) explained that skilled trades are and will continue to be in high demand, so providing students with the opportunity to explore different skilled trades through hands-on, practical experience is a win for everyone. 

“Students connect with well-paying career options, and Burnaby gains more tradespeople to continue building and growing our local community and economy,” he said. 

 Marita Luk, business development manager, BCIT School of Construction and the Environment believes the BTS initiative will help to encourage more youth to consider a career path in construction trades. 

“BCIT is proud to partner with VRCA, BBOT and the Burnaby School District on the Bring Trades to School (BTS) initiative,” said Luk. “As the largest provider of trades training programs in Western Canada, BCIT is a key driver of strategic workforce development and will leverage its unique expertise and resources to support economic recovery, growth, and resilience in BC.” 

Key Takeaways:

  • The funds will focus on increasing the participation of underrepresented groups, such as women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and racialized Canadians, in the Red Seal trades.
  • They will go towards two projects: one with Build A Dream to Empower Women and the other with Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor.
  • According to the latest data from BuildForce Canada, women make up roughly 12.8% of the Canadian construction sector.

The Whole Story:

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, has announced funding for over $7.3 million for two projects through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) – Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream. These projects will improve the participation of underrepresented groups, such as women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and racialized Canadians, in the Red Seal trades.

Through the first project titled Diversifying the Talent Pipelines for In-demand Red Seal Trades, Build a Dream to Empower Women will receive more than $4 million over two years to help up to 18,000 underrepresented apprentices in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia improve their overall skills and competencies in leadership and team building. Participants will also get support to upgrade their technical skills through hands-on experience. In collaboration with unions and employers, the organization will help participants find work placements in the Red Seal trades.

As part of the second project, Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST) will receive more than $3 million over four years for their SMART for Women project to help up to 400 unrepresented apprentices to progress and succeed in their apprenticeships. WEST will provide math refresher courses; assist participants to enroll in technical training courses offered by trades schools and training providers; and provide participants with wrap-around supports, such as childcare and financial support, so they can complete their apprenticeship training successfully and pursue in-demand jobs.

“Investing in training and opportunities for Canadian workers is how we fill critical labour gaps across Canada,” said Boissonnault. “Build a Dream to Empower Women and Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc are doing this work on the ground and directly supporting the future of Windsor’s workforce. This $7.3 million investment will strengthen our workforce and grow our economy, and support middle class jobs for the people of Windsor.”

Build A Dream to Empower Women collaborates with speakers, community leaders, and businesses to inspire female students, women and under-represented communities.

Key Takeaways:

  • The TNDC Mobile Training Centre is a 44-foot trailer that houses four simulators, each with its own unique operator training program including articulated trucks, dozers and loaders, excavators, and another program in development.
  • Based at the Red Chris mine within the Tahltan Nation’s traditional territory, the centre has the flexibility to relocate to other sites as needed.
  • Its primary objective is to support both the Tahltan HEO program and the TNDC Employee HEO training program.

The Whole Story:

B.C.’s construction and heavy equipment industry are turning to technology to train the next generation of equipment operators.

The Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC) and Finning Canada have launched the TNDC Mobile Training Centre. The training facility is equipped with cutting-edge simulators designed to provide comprehensive heavy equipment training.

The TNDC Mobile Training Centre is a 44-foot trailer designed for training purposes. It houses four simulators, each with its own unique operator training program including articulated trucks, dozers and loaders, excavators, and another program in development.

TNDC and Finning stated that the simulators offer learners a safe, virtual environment to develop their skills in operating Cat equipment. Based at the Red Chris mine within the Tahltan Nation’s traditional territory, the centre has the flexibility to relocate to other sites as needed. Its primary objective is to support both the Tahltan HEO program and the TNDC Employee HEO training program. 

“We are thrilled to unveil the TNDC Mobile Training Centre,” said Colleen Cashin, VP of people and corporate culture at TNDC. “The vision for the TNDC Mobile Training Centre will be to build capacity for Tahltans, our employees and to improve career growth opportunities. It is through partnerships with partners like Finning that we are able to facilitate growth of our people and ongoing growth of our development corporation. Today, we say thank you to our friends at Finning.”

Finning and TNDC showcase their new training simulators at AME Roundup in Vancouver. – Finning

The TNDC Mobile Training Centre facilitates the training of 80-120 staff members each year, equipping them with upskilling opportunities and providing training for new operators. TNDC noted that the mobile training centre not only supports the onboarding of new employees but also enhances employee retention and productivity, while concurrently reducing recruitment and onboarding expenses.

“When we had the chance to partner with our long-standing customer and provide the TNDC with a mobile training center, we didn’t hesitate to say yes,” said Cheryl Gray, senior vice president of mining at Finning Canada. “Simulator training provides a safe, hands-on experience for learners using the same controls and machine applications found in real-world worksites. We are excited to support the Tahltans in developing the skills they need to become certified Heavy Equipment Operators.”

In addition to providing the four simulators, the Finning team is supporting the installation and troubleshooting of the equipment and the training of Tahltan instructors. The two partners stated that this represents a substantial investment acknowledging the collective commitment between the TNDC and Finning to build a talent pipeline for future Heavy Equipment Operators in the Tahltan community. Once in operation, TNDC will be responsible for operating and maintaining the trailer and running all of the training programs.