Training & Education

Shipyard Labourer Occupational Certificate

The Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Centre, Resource Training Organization, and Industry Training Authority worked together to complete a 50 person pilot project where successful participants earned their Shipyard Labourer Occupational Certificate.  An individual wishing to obtain their certification as a Shipyard Labourer through the challenge process must first demonstrate that they have 4,000 hours of work experience directly related to the occupation and a WHMIS Certificate.  Their skills, knowledge and ability will then be evaluated by a certified assessor using multiple forms of assessment.  This occupation consists of 13 core units of competency which can be seen in the Occupational Performance Standard. To receive certification a challenger must demonstrate competence in all 13 core units.  

ITA News Release
For Immediate Release May 22, 2013


New credential will open provincial certification to more industries Vancouver, BC – Industry Training Authority (ITA) will present its first Occupational Certificates this week to participants of two pilot projects: Parks and Public Works Operations Worker and Shipyard Labourer. ITA's new Occupational Certificate is a credential issued to experienced workers who have demonstrated their current competencies (skills, abilities and knowledge) to perform on the job to industry standards. 

Candidates are evaluated by trained assessors using enhanced assessment methods such as technical interviews and practical demonstration of skills to supplement or replace a written multiple choice exam.

"ITA has been involved in credentialing over 100 trades in BC 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 CEO. “Employers have been telling us that apprenticeship works exceptionally well for some occupations but not for all. This new credential takes into account that there’s a variety of types of training in the workplace.  What’s important is that a person has been assessed to have mastered a common standard of skills and knowledge for that occupation.”

For the BC Parks and Public Works Group (bcPPWG) and BC’s Shipbuilding and Repair industry, the Occupational Certification pathway aims to streamline the recruitment, hiring, and retention of experienced workers and provide the foundation for the development of training to address skills gaps.

“The BC Parks and Public Works Group and Industry Training Authority worked together to create a program which will, ultimately, provide BC’s parks and public works industry with better job mobility, career advancement opportunities, improved job security and new training options.” said Neal Carley, General Manager of Engineering and Parks for the City of Port Moody.

"Together the Resource Training Organization, the Industrial Marine and Training Applied Research Centre and ITA delivered a successful pilot project that demonstrated the effectiveness of enhanced assessment methodology and created a new credentialing pathway for shipyard labourers," said Victoria Pazukha, Research Training Organization (RTO), Manager, Strategic Initiatives. “The project is an example of building a learning culture within the sector to ensure its competitiveness and continued growth.”

Evans says that apprenticeship remains a proven and effective training model for most skilled trades and is ITA’s primary focus. “The option to provide an Occupational Certificate pathway provides an additional way to set industry standards and credential workers.”

About ITA
The Industry Training Authority (ITA) leads and coordinates British Columbia’s skilled trades system. ITA works with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to set program standards, manage apprenticeships, issues credentials, and increase opportunities in the trades.


ITA Occupational Certificate Q&A

Q:        What is an Occupational Certificate?
A:         It is a certification challenge pathway based on recognition of an experienced worker’s individual’s current competence (skills, abilities and knowledge required to perform well on the job). The certification is issued to candidates who have demonstrated that they met the occupational performance standards regardless of how they have acquired their skills – through work experience or formal training. Candidates are evaluated by trained assessors using enhanced assessment methods such as technical interviews and practical demonstrations of skills to supplement or replace standardized written multiple choice exams.

Q:        Why is ITA issuing these certificates?
A:         ITA has been involved in credentialing over 100 trades in BC and these occupational qualifications are among the first ITA certifications to be issued where there is no formal apprenticeship training pathway to certification. Occupational Certificates are another way to recognize experienced workers who have met industry standards, and may assist some industries to develop their own skill development models where the traditional apprenticeship training model does not meet their needs..

Q:        Is ITA trying to eliminate apprenticeship?
A:         No.  ITA’s priority remains the apprenticeship training and certification system. Apprenticeship is still a highly successful, proven training model for most skilled trades.

Q:        What industries can currently receive an Occupational Certificate?
A:         ITA recently piloted occupational certificate programs for Parks and Public Works Operations Workers and for Shipyard Labourers. Depending upon industry demand, these two occupational certifications may be open for challenge in the near future. 

Q:        What kind of tasks do Parks and Public Works Operations Workers and for Shipyard Labourers perform?
A:         Parks and Public Works Operations Workers perform a variety of local government general labour duties (typically for a municipality, regional district, or First Nation). Common tasks are:
o Safe use of tools and equipment related to parks construction and maintenance
o Road and sidewalk construction and maintenance
o Sewer and wastewater or fresh water distribution systems operation

Shipyard Labourers provide services in the shipbuilding and repair industry, including:
o Cleaning yard
o Delivering materials
o Setting up for specified work on a vessel
o Preparing vessel surfaces
o Performing fire watch and hole watch duties
o Assisting in docking and undocking vessels

Q:        Will ITA be expanding this program to include other industries?
A:         ITA plans to add an additional four Occupational Certificate programs in 2013-14 depending upon industry response to a request for applications that will be issued in June.

Q:        What is the     role and training of assessors?
A:        ITA registered Assessors are authorized to conduct competency-based assessments for specified trades or occupations and to make professional judgments on whether evidence provided by candidates is sufficient to meet approved certification standards. 

Candidates for ITA Assessor training must meet rigorous trade/occupation-specific eligibility requirements. ITA Assessor training content covers principles and rules of assessment and application of the principles and rules using approved, occupation-specific assessment tools and methods.  Assessor candidates must complete training and demonstrate competence in the following prior to being registered and authorized to perform assessments for their specific trade/occupation:
• Prepare for assessments
• Demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills
• Conduct assessments and making assessment decisions in accordance with ITA Enhanced Assessment Operational Procedures
• Record and report assessment decisions and recommendations
• Apply continuous improvement to the assessment process.   

Assessors must also maintain currency in their occupation/trade as well as in assessment methodology.  Annual satisfactory performance evaluations must be submitted by the approved assessment agency for whom they work in order for them to retain “active” status which authorizes them to perform assessments for the subsequent year.