by Gloria Welton
Sam Sanderson, General Manager of the Construction Association of PEI (CAPEI) says once you enter the trades there are many choices and options that will continue on for a lifetime.
“The trades offer a land of opportunity here on PEI and around the world. Now more than ever before, there is no better time to get into construction than right now.”
In 2022, CAPEI was named Partner Association of the Year by the Canadian Construction Association. CAPEI was recognized for its programs that bolster the skills necessary in the industry.
One way to enter a trade on PEI is through CAPEI training programs such as Youth In Trades, the Newcomer and Ukrainian programs, and Discover Carpentry. The programs offer 70 percent hands-on training and 30 percent classroom time, including safety training.
All programs are held at the newly developed training centre in Charlottetown. CAPEI has a contract with the province to build 30 tiny homes by the spring of 2026 at the centre. “This partnership offers introductory trades training through building net-zero energy efficient affordable housing units for the province.
“Our industry and membership are offering to provide on-the-job placements to the participants of our programs. They see this as a way to hire their next great employee.”
Participants in the Newcomer and Ukrainian program get hands-on learning opportunities that create more employability skills. “The participants are going into project management, estimator roles, and general labour,” he says. “Some are working on their engineering or architectural certifications in Canada.”
All 11 participants of the most recent Youth in Trades cohort were fully employed after finishing the program. “Our work with youth has been very innovative.”
CAPEI offered the second cohort of its Discover Carpentry program this year. “It’s been a very successful program, due to our Training Centre, which offers hands-on training. Our participants are learning a lot of employability skills and are ready to go to work.”
The Discovery Carpentry program has two Red Seal Carpenters on staff. “The last program hosted 15 participants for eight weeks of classroom, construction training, and safety training, and then they went out on job placements for six weeks.
“Right from day one they all registered for Apprenticeship and started banking their hours toward a carpentry designation. Fourteen participants graduated, and one will return to our program next time round as the timing was not right. The 14 graduates started full-time work immediately.
“This spring and early summer, all the programs were running, which is great news for those looking to get into trades and for the employers in construction needing staff, and there are many.
“The graduates all have the opportunity for excellent competency-based skilled training, safety training, and other employability training while building energy efficient tiny homes. It is a win, win, win!”
Sam says CAPEI hopes for more funding and for the ability to keep expanding this training concept. “I am always looking to partner and to improve upon what we are doing to address the labour shortage.
“Also, we have brought virtual reality career exploration toolkits to several schools on PEI, and we hope to have them in every high school on the Island this year. There are 28 modules in these kits that students can explore.”
There is an opportunity for anybody and everybody who is interested in trades. “The biggest thing we are hearing from employers right now is the need for people who want to come to work every day and are dedicated to staying in the trades.”
How does someone get started in the industry on PEI?
Those interested in a career in construction should contact CAPEI’s Human Resource Advisor, at [email protected] or 902-368-3303.
Employment opportunities are posted regularly on www.workpei.ca and www.IslandBuilder.ca
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