Government, industry addressing construction workforce needs

The Prince Edward Island construction sector has immediate needs for 500-750 workers and as many as 1,800 workers will be needed over the next 10 years to keep pace with major projects, retirements, and an upswing in the sector.

In anticipation of the workforce demands, the Government of Prince Edward Island has partnered with the Construction Association of Prince Edward Island to support new training and employment opportunities in the province’s fast-growing construction industry.

“Non-residential investment in construction in PEI has the fastest growth among provinces, and residential investment in new homes and renovations saw an expansion of 5.2 per cent in 2016,” Premier Wade MacLauchlan said. “Acting now to boost the construction sector workforce will ensure that this growth will continue, while also connecting Islanders to well-paying jobs for the long term.”

Government is providing funding support to the Construction Association of Prince Edward Island to develop and implement a multi-faceted recruitment plan that will address identified needs. The challenges are part of a national trend outlined in the release of a national study – 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward – prepared by BuildForce Canada. “We have identified expansion of the workforce as one of the top priorities for the sector. Attracting and retaining skilled workers will be essential to keep growing the Island economy,” said Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of Prince Edward Island. “To address this challenge, we will be working with government to identify innovative approaches to meet our workforce needs and to implement a multi-faceted plan to attract workers to our industry.”

Funding has also been renewed for the Trade HERizon’s initiative led by Women’s Network PEI. The project aims to increase the number of women in trades by promoting career options in trades like construction, through a mix of hands-on learning and classroom sessions. The initiative will support 20 women this year in preparation for trades related training and jobs.

“Government is currently supporting training and employment initiatives for 100 workers in construction, and will double that support to assist 100 more Islanders gain skills and experience,” said Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant. “We will also be working to promote apprenticeship pathways for people interested in trades and identify innovative alternative training delivery opportunities with Holland College.”

These initiatives are being supported through funding from the Government of Prince Edward Island through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement and the Canada-PEI Job Fund Agreement.