B.C. Shipyard Workers Earn New Certifications

Source: The Times Colonist
By: Carla Wilson
Published: May 22, 2013

A new type of certification has been created in B.C. to provide credentials for experienced shipyard and parks workers following pilot programs this year.

The occupational certificates are being issued this week through the province’s Industry Training Authority, which leads and co-ordinates B.C.’s skilled trades system.

Certificates are granted after assessors evaluate workers who are tested on the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary for their particular jobs. It does not involve course work, but shows what workers have learned on the job.

The first credentials were awarded Wednesday to 50 shipyard labourers to support B.C.’s growing shipbuilding and repair industry. The ceremony was held at the Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Centre in Esquimalt.

Demand for shipyard labourers is expected to grow after Seaspan Marine, owner of Vancouver and Victoria shipyards, won the right to negotiate $8 billion worth of contracts to build non-combat federal ships.

Another 26 occupational certificates are being presented for parks and public works operations workers this week.

“ITA has been involved in credentialing over 100 trades in B.C., but this is the first time that we’ve developed a credentialing pathway outside of the formal apprenticeship model of learning,” said Kevin Evans, ITA’s chief executive. “Employers have told us apprenticeship works exceptionally well for some occupations but not for all.”

The certificates show there is a range of types of training in the workplace, he said. “What’s important is that a person has been assessed to have mastered a common standard of skills and knowledge for that occupation.”

The B.C. Resource Training Organization, Industrial Marine and the ITA worked together on the shipyard program. B.C. has about 500 shipyard labourers, meaning another 450 could seek this certificate, Alex Rueben, Industrial Marine executive director, said Wednesday.