Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


November 2, 2015

Apprenticeship Recognition Week

Simpson: I’m pleased to be able to stand and join with the minister and celebrate Apprenticeship Recognition Week. I think it is important. I think it is critically important that we recognize the role of apprentices and the critical role around skills training, as we move forward.

We know that the apprenticeship model in British Columbia has been on a bit of a rocky road over a period of time. There has been quite a bit of focus to try to correct that in the last couple of years. I think one of the big steps — and I want to acknowledge this — was the decision of the government to re-engage all the parties in the process. I believe that people who looked at the apprenticeship process in British Columbia would have seen that there were roles to play for educational institutions and for labour unions that had not been fulfilled in the last while. There has been effort to try to correct that, and I want to acknowledge that.

I think the challenge we have going forward now, the most significant challenge, is to encourage employers to play a bigger role in fulfilling those apprenticeships. The classroom, the foundational piece of the apprenticeship process, is the least substantive in some ways. It is that time on the job which is probably 70 percent or 80 percent of the time that an apprentice plays a role. We know that there has been an effort to try to improve that and engage more employers in that process, but we need to do more to do that.

I want to acknowledge that the government took some steps. I believe that there’s more to be done to talk about the role that publicly funded projects play.

I think we need to play a bigger role in our own public service in encouraging more and more apprenticeships directly in the government public service, whether it be local governments or the provincial government. There are challenges in front of us, but when all of that is said and done, this is a very important area of training and education.

It is an area that creates great opportunities for people who pursue those apprenticeships to be able to come out with a great skill set, hopefully with a Red Seal, and to be able to move forward and know and be confident that they will have the kinds of skills that can provide real, family-supporting jobs moving forward and that can meet the needs of our province as we move forward in a whole variety of areas and sectors where our workforce is aging, where demands are growing and where we need to make sure that we have a new generation of people coming up to fill those roles. And the apprenticeship program is fundamental to that.

I’m pleased to join with the minister in recognition of Apprenticeship Recognition Week. It is an important thing, and we should be celebrating it.

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