Wherever you live in BC, chances are good that someone you know works in our province’s vibrant and booming construction industry.
From the 180,000 tradespeople at its core to the labourers, architects, engineers, estimators, site supers and foremen, union business managers, trainers, safety officers, manufacturers and suppliers, to the owners and back-office teams that make it all tick, construction is the heart of BC’s economy.
More than 250,000 people rely directly on this industry for a paycheque. They build and maintain the structures in which we all live, work, and play. That’s 10 per cent of the workforce: more than any other sector and bigger than forestry, mining, agriculture and fishing combined.
Not that it’s a contest. But here’s something to think about: for all that construction contributes to our daily lives, it doesn’t get much appreciation.
Too often, entering the trades is positioned as a “consolation prize” for students who decide not to go to university but don’t know what they want to do. Too often, we value education over skill. Too often, our best and brightest are discouraged from pursuing a trade. On average it takes an apprentice seven years between graduating high school and entering the trades: too often, that seven years is spent trying to fit into a cultural expectation instead of following an instinctive call to build.
Construction Month recognizes people working in the trades
This month, partners including BC Construction Association, LNG Canada, BCIT, WorkSafe BC, Coastal GasLink, and the BCCA Employee Benefits Trust have stepped up to show their appreciation for the talented men and women of our industry. To make sure that this hard-working group of people gets a moment in the spotlight.
Whether it’s over pancakes at a contractor’s breakfast or by giving a well-deserved award to a colleague who is showing leadership or in a hundred other ways, industry will be taking a moment to recognize itself.
This is your chance too. In honour of Construction Month let that friend or family member know that their skills are appreciated. Grab a coffee for that hard hat in line with you at Starbucks. Give a thumb’s up to a fluorescent flagger caring for safety as you pass a construction site. Next time you’re watching cat videos online, give a shout out on social media using #builtright and #constructiongives.
If you know someone looking for a rewarding career path, send them to the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) for a consultation. This is a no-cost service managed by the BCCA.
Need more inspiration? Look at the building you’re in right now. Think about what it would look like if you had to build it yourself. And be glad you have experts to rely on.