College of BC Building Trades opens its (virtual) doors as a hub for BC schools.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was first published on April 21 in Surrey Now-Leader’s 16-page special section on vocational training. Click here to see the complete electronic edition.


David Hogben, author

Skilled careers are just a click away with the new British Columbia College of Building Trades.

The college is a virtual hub and online learning module for more than 15 specialized schools throughout British Columbia.

The schools and campus are BC Building Trades, a professional instructors union that represents a wide range of trades, from electricians and heavy equipment operators to pile drivers, carpenters, masons and sheet metal workers.

Instead of endlessly browsing various websites, prospective students can find all the information they need at They can listen to student testimonials, watch videos of merchants at work, learn about eligibility requirements, check salary and job prospects, take practice tests, and contact their chosen school directly for enrollment.

Tuition in most schools is low or free, and students are also eligible for scholarships and scholarships.

“This is a one-stop-shop to learn about career opportunities in the unionized construction industry, connect to learning resources to support them through their pre-training process, join a union, and access resources to help them with their apprenticeship program.” said Kyle Downey, CEO of SkillPlan, which developed the college’s learning management system.

The site has a section called “Explore Our Trades” where potential tradesmen can learn about the many opportunities that exist with unions in the construction trades.

“This is an area where people can click through and learn about the variety of jobs they can have,” Downey said.

“They can learn about, for example, a career as an electrician, a carpenter or a crane operator. They can then dive into that page to watch a video, learn about projected growth in career opportunities, how much money they will be earning, key skills and attributes they will need, requirements to enter the trade, and so on.”

Many young people find it difficult to get career information from teachers and career counselors, Downey said, in part because many in the education system don’t fully understand what jobs are available, what qualifications are needed, and what salaries and benefits they can expect. .

“So, they can go to the Explore Our Trades section to learn about all of these opportunities,” Downey said.

They can then make informed decisions about the trade they may want to engage in.

“From there, you can click on the ‘Improving Skills’ section which will take you to the learning center where there are all the different learning tools to help you find out if you have the required ability and then acquire the skills you need to get into that particular trade” .

Many potential traders will not have all the education they need to start their career immediately. For example, they may need to compose some courses, such as math, reading, or science. The site then shows them how they can get the missing prerequisites.

“From there, they can really find trade-specific resources to help close those gaps,” Downey said.

Video tutorials are also available to help students overcome difficulties. Over 2,000 instructional videos are being created that students can access to support them on their journey.

“Over time, you will be able to watch, for example, a video where an instructor teaches trigonometry. You will be able to learn this concept and do practical exercises,” Downey explained.

The journey continues even after a student has started an apprenticeship program as they can continue to return to this learning center for access to apprenticeship-related tutoring resources to help guide them through difficult areas of technical training.

Click here to find out more online.
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