LATEST NEWS Engineering
August 14, 2013
Associations recruiting workers in Ireland
The B.C. Construction Association (BCCA) and the Saskatchewan Construction Association (SCA) are teaming up for a job expo in Ireland to help address skilled labour shortages in western Canada.
“We are not going to a job fair, where it is set up by an outside company and employers pay to attend,” said Abigail Fulton, vice-president of the BCCA.
“We are doing all the organization ourselves, so it can be as affordable as it can possibly be for our employers. We are organizing our own fair to cut out the middleman.”
The associations are planning to take a delegation of about 50 companies on a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland and Dublin, Ireland this fall for a construction-specific job expo.
According to Fulton, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have traditionally competed against one another for qualified, experienced construction tradespeople, technicians and construction professionals.
“We decided to partner with the Saskatchewan Construction Association because they are also experiencing an increase in the demand for skilled labour,” she said.
“We are inviting companies from other provinces, but the only requirement is that they are looking for construction workers.”
The demand for trades is expected to remain high for the next decade due to the number of large resource and infrastructure projects underway or anticipated in western Canada.
For example, Rio Tinto is planning to invest a total of US$3.3 billion on capital spending to modernize its aluminium smelter in Kitimat, B.C., which is one of the largest private investments in the province’s history.
The project will generate about 2,500 jobs during the peak period of the construction phase and is scheduled for completion in 2014.
The Construction Sector Council estimates that B.C.’s construction industry will need to attract and retain 30,500 new workers to meet labour requirements between 2013 and 2021.
Construction will be driven by utility and mining projects, as well as residential activity.
The Saskatchewan construction labour force will decline by 600 workers between 2013 and 2021, as known major mining projects wind down.
However, this slight decline conceals an important change in non-residential construction, which is expected to jump by 4,000 workers from 2013 to 2015.
This demand is expected to be met through in-mobility from other industries, provinces and countries.
The BCCA and the SCA consider Ireland a good country to recruit foreign workers from because of the availability and high quality of skilled labour, skills transferability and a willingness to work in Canada.
In addition, Ireland experienced a serious economic downturn in 2009, which has resulted in many tradespeople looking for work.
“Demand is really picking up in the province in a variety of trades and in a variety of places. For example bricklaying, where hundreds had previously submitted resumes, but there was no work,” said Fulton.
“Now with construction at Rio Tinto Alcan, all the bricklayers have gone to work there and there is a demand for bricklayers.”
She said bricklaying is representative of an overall trend in B.C. as construction on a number of large development projects gets underway.
The expo will take place in Belfast on Oct. 31 in Dublin on Nov. 2.
Belfast is designed for construction employers only, with job-seekers pre-registering and submitting their resumes in advance.
A venue will be booked for employers to interview the best candidates on Nov. 3, following the Dublin Expo.
Resumes will be pre-screened to ensure that the right trades show up for the job opportunities.
“We will make every effort possible to make sure the right people are coming through the door for the employees going over,” said Fulton.
Both the BCCA and SCA have a partnership with their respective Provincial Nominee Programs to use this potential pathway to immigration.
Immigration support will be provided both before and after the expo to assist employers with bringing their chosen candidates into Canada on a temporary or permanent basis.
“If there are any British Columbians, who are skilled tradespeople and can’t get work, let us know and we will get them a job,” said Fulton.
“This is about filling job openings in B.C., not about stealing jobs from Canadians. We really have a handle on all the trades and occupations that we can’t find among the unemployed in BC. We are placing local people first.”
There will also be an opportunity after the expo for employers to access the full database of resumes collected.
The BCCA, the SCA and some Western Canadian construction employers have held previous job fairs in Ireland to attract skilled workers.
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