Training centre opens in Canada

Source: 4th quarter edition of Shiprepair and Conversion Technology
Author: Kathy A. Smith, Maritime Writer
Published: October 23, 2013

An era of enhanced growth, productivity and competitiveness for British Columbia’s shipbuilding and shiprepair sectors is promised as a result of major new investments being made by the Canadian government. As part of this programme a new marine trades training centre has been established and is helping to train the existing workforce, as well as prepare the next generation of workers for activities in the region’s shipyards.

The Industrial Marine Training Centre (IMTARC), located in Esquimalt Harbour on Southern Vancouver Island, opened its doors earlier this year and already nearly 3,000 students have been trained. Current training programs at the centre include Drydocking, which is accredited with both SNAME and RINA, Project Management Fundamentals and Contract Management for Ship Construction, Repair and Design. Before IMTARC opened, an extensive industry analysis was undertaken and this identified some gaps in terms of the required skill sets. “We are looking at about 2,000 new direct jobs coming available between now and 2020, and we’ll also see 850 retirements in that time frame,” says IMTARC’s executive director, Alex Rueben. “I am confident the training we currentlyoffer and the courses we continue to develop will meet these changing needs.”

The centre’s workforce development initiatives include partnering with the province’s post-secondary educational institutions, brokering training from a variety of local, national and international providers, as well as developing progressive industry curricula from entry to advanced-level courses. 

Starting in 2014, the Federal government’s CAN$8 billion (US$7.7 billion) agreement with Seaspan under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) kicks in, and the training centre has a key role to play in this initiative. Other shipyards in the area will also be involved in IMTARC training and the subsequent hiring of trades people, however. While the focal point of the NSPS is newbuilding, repairs, refits and conversion services will continue to be provided for BC Ferries, the Canadian Navy and coast guard fleets, among others, and there is a perceived training need for this activity as well.