Sheet Metal Career Paths on Display at Okanagan College Open House
The need for skilled Sheet Metal Workers locally and across B.C. has prompted Okanagan College to open the doors to one of its newest shops so potential students can test-drive the trade this fall.
“There is a huge need for sheet metal workers right now,” says Brad Oliver, Chair of Mechanical Building Trades at the College. “We can’t train them fast enough to meet the demand locally, and our grads are finding work all over the province, Alberta and up north. We are constantly hearing from industry that they are struggling to find enough skilled workers.”
The College is hosting a free public information night on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6-8 p.m. in the Atrium of the Trades Complex. Students will have a chance to explore the cutting-edge new Sheet Metal shop and can sign up to be a student for a day this fall.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who are considering the trade to understand how the training works and get a sense of what the job opportunities and career paths are like,” notes Oliver, who points out that sheet metal may appeal to potential students looking to stay in – or move to – the Okanagan.
“This trade sometimes flies under the radar in people’s minds, but sheet metal is everywhere you look – homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants – so there is endless work if you’re skilled in fabricating, installing or servicing ducts or anything with a sheet metal component.
“It’s a Red Seal trade, which means your ticket will be recognized across the country,” explains Oliver. “But what I think what is attractive about this trade for students is the potential to train here, and find stable work locally if they want to stay here.”
Upon completion of the 20-week Foundation program, students receive credit for Level 1 Technical Training and 350 work-based hours toward their apprenticeship. They can then choose to continue on to complete all four levels of their apprenticeship training in Kelowna, all while working and gaining on-the-job experience.
“The apprentice works in industry and attends school for six weeks each year,” explains Oliver. “If they complete all four levels, they’ll have the full spectrum of training required to become a qualified Sheet Metal Journeyperson.”
A recent labour market sweep by BC Business predicted there will be call for 900 more Sheet Metal Workers in B.C. over the next eight years. Sheet Metal Workers made the magazine’s list of 50 high paying jobs in the province, earning an average of $31/hr.