‘If you want to buy a house, get into the skilled trades’: Mercier

January 25, 2023

As labour shortages cause anxiety across the construction industry, B.C.’s new minister of state for workforce development says it’s time to get youth into the trades and make it easier for foreign residents to get the jobs they are qualified for.

“We’re in a supply driven labour market,” said Andrew Mercier in an interview with the Journal of Commerce.

“We know we’re going to need to fill one million job vacancies over the next eight years. We know in construction we’re going to need to fill 83,000 by 2031.”

Looking specifically at construction, Mercier said one of his focuses as minister of state is raising the profile of the trades to bring more young people into the fold, work that is already underway.

“We need to focus on getting more young people into the trades and a part of that is the work we’ve been doing with skilled trades certification, raising the prestige of the trades,” said Mercier.

He said recent outreach work resulted in 75 per cent of parents saying they were encouraging one of their children to pursue a career in the trades.

Mercier noted there isn’t just a labour shortage but also a skills gap.