Alberta ties construction contracts to hiring apprentices

Alberta construction apprentices
Minister Marlin Schmidt and Minister Christina Gray visit with students at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

Landing a large public infrastructure contract in Alberta will now require a commitment to hiring apprentices.

Beginning in February, proponents on large-scale, public infrastructure projects will be required to employ apprentices in the 11 construction-related trades.

The new policy requires apprentices to participate on major public projects valued at more than $15 million, or projects that require at least two years to complete.

“As our economy recovers, we’re doing everything we can to get Albertans back to work,” said Marlin Schmidt, Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education. “We are very fortunate that Alberta’s industry has played such a key role in delivering on-the-job experience, and this requirement is another way for our industry partners to continue their leadership and mentorship of apprentices.”

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The trades subject to the new requirement include; carpentry, crane and hoisting equipment operations, electrical, elevator construction, gas-fitting, heavy equipment technician, ironworker, plumbing, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanics, sheet metal and welding.

“Alberta’s apprenticeship system plays a central role in ensuring our province develops the skilled workforce that will enable future prosperity and competitiveness,” said NAIT President Glenn Feltham. “Industry plays a critical role in the success of this learning model, through providing training, mentorship and employment to apprentices. This role needs to be recognized, celebrated and encouraged.”

About 80 per cent of an apprentice’s training is conducted on the job under the supervision of a certified journeyperson or qualified individual. At the beginning of the year, there were about 50,000 registered apprentices in the province in more than 50 designated trades and occupations.

“Apprentices will tell you that real-world experience and mentorship are invaluable to their training and development,” said j’Amey Bevan, chair of the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board. “This is an important initiative that recognizes the value of supporting apprentices and apprenticeship training on publicly funded projects.”

Sub-contracts of $500,000 or more will also be required to comply with the new requirement by employing at least one apprentice.

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