Pilot program leads to permanent change in worker training
John Martin, front, and Marv Diamond make sure the siding is properly attached. Adam Randell photo
The Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Association (NLCA) is applauding a decision by the Provincial Apprenticeship and Certification Board, to make a permanent change in the ratio of journeypersons to apprentices allowed on the job site.
According to a statement issued by the association, the certification board has passed a motion making a pilot program — allowing two apprentices to be trained and supervised by a single journeyperson, rather than just one — into a new reality for construction workers.
The motion for the new 2:1 ratio was passed in June, according to the NLCA and will apply to all trades.
In addition, the Provincial Apprenticeship and Certification Board has granted the director of the Apprenticeship and Trades Certification Division, under the provincial government’s Department of Advanced Education and Skills, the ability to issue permits to employers for three apprentices to one journeyperson.
That 3:1 ratio permit will require at least one of the apprentices to be in their final year. The employer will have to submit a written request to government, explaining how the apprentice will receive proper training and how workplace safety will not be jeopardized, should the 3:1 ratio be allowed.
“At a time when we are on the cusp of an impending shortage of skilled construction trades workers, this is a positive step forward for the construction trades,” NLCA chair Brad Sheppard stated. “As the industry continues to progress in this province and across Canada, there will be a more dire need for skilled trades workers.”
The provincial construction labour force currently amounts to between 15,000 and 20,000 workers, according to the association. The workers are mainly employed with small construction firms, averaging about 20 employees.
“Allowing a third apprentice per journeyperson is an added bonus and clearly indicates that the Provincial Apprenticeship and Certification Board recognizes the severity of the labour issues we will be facing in the near future, and they are taking the innovative steps necessary to prepare,” Rhonda Neary, president and CEO of the NLCA, has stated.