Opportunities are plentiful in the trades

BC Jobs Plan meant to train people for long-standing jobs

Metal fabricator Mila Puharich on the job.

Here in British Columbia, skilled workers are needed in numerous sectors, with opportunities to be found both here at home and farther afield.

The BC Jobs Plan 6 Month Progress Report recently noted, for example, that Seaspan Marine Corporation’s $8 billion contract to build non-combat vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy at their shipyards in North Vancouver and Esquimalt will provide long-standing jobs, directly and indirectly, for roughly 4,000 British Columbians.

Mila Puharich hopes to be part of this good news. She’s just starting her career but she’s already forging uncharted territory as the first female metal fabricator in her workplace in more than 60 years.

“I’m really truly the first woman they’ve ever seen in the steel fitting trade there. They are welders, electricians and riggers, but I’ve yet to meet another woman fitter.”

She also gets to hone her craft on all kinds of marine vehicles from boats, to ships, to submarines.

For heavy duty mechanic Taylor Paulson, inspired to follow his uncle into the trade, Camosun College’s heavy-duty mechanic certificate program gave him everything he needed to launch his new career. “The program was great. After 10 months in the classroom I was happy to start the hands-on stuff, the good stuff,” says Taylor.  “I received grants for my program, which were a nice boost early on.”

Today, Paulson is working in Tumbler Ridge, in northern B.C., supporting the province’s booming mining industry. “I make sure the mines are running smoothly: I diagnose and repair support trucks and equipment, sometimes I’ll be on-site, and other times I’ll have to do repairs at the shop. I’m proud that I work here in B.C. – it’s beautiful here, the hunting is fantastic, there’s amazing hiking, a world-class snowmobile system and fresh river fishing, too.”

For Puharich, two programs were key in connecting her as a female metal fabricator with her job: WITT or Women in Trades and STEP. WITT is geared towards helping employers in B.C. get the skilled workers they need by matching them with women who have some experience, or who want to start a career, in the trades. STEP is a no-fee employment program that works to match potential workers with employers. They assist eligible people by presenting them with opportunities for training and employment.

It’s no surprise Puharich gets excited when talking about WITT. “The WITT program is awesome. Karen McNeil at Camosun is the goddess of apprentices. She directed me to funding, grants and helped connect me to the STEP program. The support system there is like a trampoline, it just makes you go higher! STEP (then) helped get me the interview with Victoria Shipyards.”

To find out about these and other skills training programs visit https://www.workbc.ca/Education-Training/Programs/Pages/Employment-Programs.aspx.

Puharich continues with on-the-job training and additional courses, learning from mentors with the know-how to build more awesome boats, ships and yes, even submarines.

 

Just Posted

Paving complete, lines coming to the Malahat this week

$34 million safety project is 95 per cent complete with hope to relieve traffic congestion between Victoria and Nanaimo

First day of fall: what you can look forward to in Greater Victoria this season

Food, festivals, pumpkins and more are coming your way

Police seek potential victims of bad ‘nanny’

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Needles found at Goldstream campground in Langford

West Shore RCMP respond to several calls for service associated with homeless campers

Oak Bay firefighters help fund new Monterey playground

Sausage Fest cash handed over to Monterey PAC

Bear makes midnight front porch visit in Campbell River

A black bear paid a Campbell River family a midnight visit last… Continue reading

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read