Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour of British Columbia

02/16/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/16/2017 18:28

Innovation enhances apprenticeship experience at Pacific Vocational College

Improving trades training outcomes and employability for apprentices is the goal of an innovative program at Pacific Vocational College (PVC), thanks to $30,865 in funding from the Province of British Columbia and the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

The PVC program is being delivered at Pitt Meadows Plumbing, which recently hosted a tour of its facilities for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton, who were joined by representatives of PVC and the ITA.

The program consists of two intakes of Level 1 technical training for up to 20 plumbing apprentices using PVC's eLearning portal. Each apprentice is provided with a tablet computer that is pre-loaded with the plumbing Level 1 course materials. Apprentices work from their tablet as they are taught in a paperless environment where the instructor can review students' work in real time and provide immediate feedback.

Delivering training at Pitt Meadows Plumbing enables the apprentices to do their practical work on the equipment and machines they use on the job after completing their on-site classroom instruction.

Included in the first intake of the program are three apprentices in Penticton who are employed on the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion project and participate via video-conferencing. These apprentices will complete the program from Penticton and be supervised by their foreman for their practical assignments.

The Penticton Regional Hospital expansion project will also help ensure apprentices are given the opportunity to develop a career in the trades, as it will be built under B.C.'s Apprentices on Public Projects policy. This policy applies to all public infrastructure projects valued at $15 million and higher, and requires contractors doing Red Seal work with a contract value of $500,000 or more to commit to using apprentices on the project and report the number of apprentices and number of apprentice hours worked in each quarter.

PVC's leading-edge pilot training program is designed to blend traditional teaching models into a real-life learning environment. Using the latest innovative technologies, apprentices are immersed in course materials that directly align to the equipment they are using at the Pitt Meadows Plumbing workshop, or on-site in Penticton.

Employer-supported training like the PVC/Pitt Meadows Plumbing program also sharply reduces apprentice wait lists and time away from work for apprentices.

Last fall the B.C. government announced five innovation pilots designed to test and evaluate novel methods of delivering trades training programs that result in better outcomes for apprentices and their employer sponsors.

This program at Pitt Meadows Plumbing is one of three additional programs funded by the B.C. government through the ITA to test innovative trades training practices.

Through these pilots and programs, the ITA is promoting new ways of delivering training models to enhance apprentices' training experiences and enable them to be more effective on the job and better meet industry's needs.

In response to the objectives outlined in B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the McDonald Report, the B.C. government has worked in partnership with the ITA to begin building a demand-driven trades training system with funding aligned to specific in-demand trades.

The provincial government invests more than $94 million annually in industry training through the ITA. The ITA leads and co-ordinates British Columbia's skilled trades system by working with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.


Doug Bing, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows -

'We are always looking to improve outcomes and employability for apprentices so it is vital that we find innovative methods of delivering trades training. Our partnership with Pacific Vocational College and Pitt Meadows Plumbing is exactly the kind of approach that B.C. needs to remain a leader in education and training.'

Marc Dalton, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission -

'Innovative programs such as this are extremely valuable as we and our partners search for new ways to deliver trades training to British Columbians. As the world changes, it is essential that we change with it by constantly bringing new ideas and creative methods for preparing our trades students and apprentices for the workforce.'

Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority -

'The Industry Training Authority supports innovative training delivery models that enable more British Columbians to access trades training. The collaboration between Pitt Meadows Plumbing and Pacific Vocational College is a great example of innovation at work in B.C. Apprentices, employers and training providers benefit from partnerships like this and we hope it inspires others to think out of the box when it comes to options in trades training.'

Robert Bradbury, president, Pacific Vocational College -

'This exciting and innovative program is the first of its kind for the piping trades and we are excited to be a part of this project and to see where this opportunity will take our apprentices. We are the wave of the future and many eyes are on us.'

Steve Robinson, president, Pitt Meadows Plumbing -

'As the employer, we are fully supporting Pacific Vocational College in enabling apprentices to receive exceptional hands-on technical training at an accelerated rate. Participants are encouraged to grow in their practical knowledge on multiple job sites, supported by the knowledge of industry leaders through and after completion of the program. We are confident this partnership project will foster further support from industry decision-makers and cultivate company loyalty from valued program graduates.'

Quick Facts:

  • ITA provides more than 100 apprenticeship training programs in B.C., including 50 Red Seal trades.
  • There are currently nearly 45,000 participants in apprenticeship programs in the industry training system (apprentices, high school youth and foundation), more than double the 20,050 participants when the ITA was created in 2004.
  • B.C. is expecting nearly one million job openings by 2025 due to retirements and economic growth.
  • Eight of every 10 of these job openings will require post-secondary education or trades training.

Learn More:

Industry Training Authority:

B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

B.C. Labour Market Outlook:

ITA innovation profiles: