Demand for Skilled Tradespeople in Alberta: 2019-2020
/ Author: Kari-Anne March
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Demand for Skilled Tradespeople in Alberta: 2019-2020

Apprentices and journeypersons needed

With the recent approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, much of Alberta is optimistic about the thousands of jobs promised through this project. But how will this affect the upcoming shortage of workers that has been forecasted to take place over the next five to ten years? 

Over the next decade, it has been estimated by BuildForce Canada’s 2019 Construction and Maintenance Outlook report that “the retiring labour force is expected to exceed  the number of new entrants coming into construction, driving industry to look to other industries and other provinces for additional new workers to augment the pool of local new entrants.” As discussed through our Trades Profile segment of Your Voice, with the aging workforce, the promise of new work, and declining registrations into the apprenticeship system, the construction sector will soon be facing a crisis with a massive shortage of qualified tradespeople available to meet project demands.

It has been reported by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum’s Apprenticeship in Demand LMI National 2019 Report that the province of Alberta will likely require 18,957 new journeypersons and 48,244 new apprentices to meet the workplace requirements across the top ten Red Seal trades between 2019 and 2023. Following such a low point in our province’s economy, it is understandable that much of our population would be hesitant to enter the apprenticeship system in preparation for the shortage of workers. However, the Construction and Maintenance Outlook suggests that “construction activity is expected to plateau after 2020 following two decades of almost uninterrupted growth,” allowing us to remain confident for at least the next decade of work for our new skilled tradespeople.

As our economy and industry have evolved over the last decade, it is unlikely that we will experience the same rush we saw with the Fort McMurray oilsands mega-projects. However, industry has been gradually shifting away from large-scale industrial work to more sustainable commercial and infrastructure expansion projects as well as to the maintenance and residential sectors of the construction industry. All of these factors will help Alberta as it is rebuilding and working toward sustainable economic growth; however, industry cannot achieve this without the skilled workforce behind them. To ensure we have the apprentices and journeypersons required for the next few decades of work in Alberta, we need to recruit, hire, and train the next generation of the skilled workforce today.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the skilled trades or have questions about the apprenticeship pathway, contact your local CLAC Training team for more information. 


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