The Gleaner

Career centres respond to Quebec construction recruitment boom

The Quebec government announced in late October that it will be offering paid fast-track career education programs to meet a growing demand for trained employees within the construction industry. Both the New Frontiers School Board (NFSB) and the Centre de services scolaires de la Vallée-des-Tisserands (CSSVT) have responded quickly to the government’s offensive and are now offering accelerated training programs in construction and in tinsmithing.

“The need is really coming up right away,” says the NFSB director general, Michael Helm, of the current labour shortage in the construction industry. In response, the NFSB has added two new carpentry groups that will start in January at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre in Ormstown. There are 44 spots in total between the two courses, which will take place either during the day or at night. Registration opened just a little over a week ago, and “They are almost completely full at this point,” says Helm.

The government is hoping to train up to 5,000 new carpenters, excavator operators, heavy machinery operators, refrigeration technicians, and tinsmiths (or sheet metal workers) over the winter so they can start next summer on construction sites.

To encourage enrollment in the accelerated programs, the government is offering a one-time measure that will pay students $750 per week while they work to obtain a professional studies certificate. Under certain conditions, scholarships may also be available upon graduation to those who enroll in these vocations as well.

The NFSB was authorized to offer other courses as part of the government’s training push, but Helm says the timeframe to organize any more than the accelerated carpentry classes in just six weeks was simply not possible. He is pleased, however, the NFSB can be part of the program. “For us and for the communities looking for skilled labour persons, this is really going to help,” he says.

The CSSVT is also now registering students for its intensive tinsmith training program at the Centre de formation du Suroît (CFPS) as part of the government’s construction recruitment initiative.

“We are delighted to have been able to respond so quickly to the government’s announcement,” says CSSVT director general Suzie Vranderick, who notes the service centre is proud to be “putting our shoulder to the wheel to help counter the labour shortage in the construction sector.”

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