PEI

Recruitment tool for P.E.I. trades 'seeing positive growth,' says construction association

The Construction Association of P.E.I. says it's hopeful the work that’s been done filling trades jobs through the Island Builder recruitment campaign will convince the province to keep it running as funding is set to expire at the end of this year.

Association hopeful funding for Island Builder will be renewed for 2020

According to the Construction Association of P.E.I., approximately 1,000 vacancies are expected in the trades in the next seven to 10 years. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

The Construction Association of P.E.I. says it's hopeful the work that's been done filling trades jobs through the Island Builder recruitment campaign will convince the province to keep that program running, as funding is set to expire at the end of this year.

Sam Sanderson, general manager of the association, said with hundreds of trades jobs still vacant and many projects well-underway to address the shortages, he's optimistic the province will see the merits of continued support for the program. 

"We've had great communication and conversations with our provincial people," said Sanderson. "They're liking what we're doing and seeing very positive growth, and we're hoping that it's going to continue."

He said since the multimedia recruitment campaign launched in 2018, a human resources position has been created to help connect candidates with hundreds of vacant trades positions across Prince Edward Island. 

He said there's also been a lot of time and energy put into promoting careers in trades to women, newcomers and Indigenous communities. 

Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of P.E.I., says Island Builder is helping fill three to five positions per week. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

"Over the course of the last 12 months we've had our Youth in Trades Program, we've had our Indigenous in Trades program, and we've started a Newcomers in Trades program just two weeks ago," said Sanderson. 

"We're also forming a new women's committee at the association, and looking for some vibrant women within the industry to become part of that committee and get more involved in the industry."

He also attributes Island Builder to a massive increase in resumes received by employers, with applicants from more than a dozen countries.

He estimates three to five positions are filled a week thanks to the program. But said there's still plenty of work to be done, with an average of 20 new positions added to the list of vacancies every week — and a total of roughly 300 vacant positions at the moment.

'We need people'

Sanderson estimates that in the next seven to 10 years, there will be a shortage of about 1,000 workers in the trades in Prince Edward Island. 

"We're an association with roughly 190 company members that put roughly $340 million into the economy in Prince Edward Island in 2018. Looking at more than that in 2019," he said.  

"We need people. We need people to grow and we need a way for our members to grow as well."

He said that growth will depend a lot on continued support from the province, which has paid out a total of $137,000 to the Island Builder campaign so far — that's $82,000 for 2018, and $55,000 in 2019.

Officials with the province said they plan to meet with the association soon to look at the results of the Island Builder campaign and determine next steps.

Richard Gallant, director of Skills PEI, says the Island Builder program has been a valuable investment for the province. (Skills PEI )

"We partner with a number of organizations in terms of addressing labour market needs, and we would certainly consider this project to be good value," said Richard Gallant, director of Skills PEI.

"It's great to see an industry organization come forward and say 'We want to implement a plan. We want to do something to profile our sector, to recruit new individuals, to train youth, we want to be able to do this stuff.'"

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