February 2021 - ICBA

ICBA OP/ED: Open Shop Leading The Way on Apprenticeships

By Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

When it comes to trades apprenticeships in British Columbia, it is the open shop that is leading the way—sponsoring 82% of all the apprentices in this province according to the Industry Training Authority.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) is the single largest sponsor of apprentices in B.C., with nearly 1,300. ICBA members, ranging from small businesses to some of Canada’s biggest construction companies, sponsor thousands and thousands more.

The numbers don’t lie: young workers are flocking to the open shop for their apprenticeships, since that’s where the opportunity, training, and work happens.

That’s why ICBA and our open shop construction members are pleased to be celebrating Apprenticeship Week this year, February 8 to 14.

As we start 2021, the needs of construction contractors and workers are shifting significantly in workplaces impacted by technology and by younger workers who want choice and flexibility.

One of the many open shop companies who are leaning hard into apprenticeships is LMS Reinforcing Steel Group, a leading contractor in the reinforcing steel sector and a true B.C. construction success story.

B.C.’s Industry Training Authority reports that LMS alone sponsors more apprentices (216) than the entire Ironworkers Local 97 (206) union. That includes nine young women and 29 Indigenous apprentices – two underrepresented groups that virtually every company is trying to attract to the trades.

And that’s just apprentices. Fully 25% of LMS’s general forepeople are Indigenous. There are more than 40 Indigenous workers at LMS, and more than 20 women.

Amanda Lucke

Amanda Lucke is one of those women. Like 99 per cent of the hires made by LMS, Amanda joined LMS as an entry-level installer, with little previous experience. Amanda worked hard to expand her knowledge and capacity as she pursued her Red Seal designation, progressing from installer to journeyperson ironworker to foreperson. Her dedication and skill were recognized every step of the way. Today, she is the Training Manager and Safety Coordinator for LMS.

Amanda is a shining example for all ironworkers of how LMS supports young people entering a trade and pursuing an apprenticeship.

The key to this success is the LMS Academy – a training program started by the company. Safety training begins on day one and is the primary component of the Academy’s curriculum, starting with the basics; things like how to assemble a tool belt, change a roll of wire, and make ties on pre-set walls. New hires learn how to be aware of their surroundings on a busy construction site and to lift rebar appropriately to ensure they protect themselves and their co-workers.

New workers are also aligned with an experienced field team member, who formally acts as a mentor. Ninety days later, LMS sponsors the new worker as an apprentice with the ITA and continues fully-sponsored apprenticeship training on site and in class.

It’s this kind of forward thinking that has landed LMS on the list of Canada’s best managed companies for seven straight years, and why it makes regular appearances on Business in Vancouver’s fastest growing B.C. companies list.

There are times when everyone in construction should step back, look at what’s happening in the industry, and applaud the efforts of construction employers like LMS, who train workers and offer exciting opportunities for those choosing a career in construction.

It seems to us that Apprenticeship Week – when we celebrate workers and their commitment to learning a trade and building a career – is one of those times.

Construction needs more companies like LMS, recruiting and training the next generation of B.C. trades workers. Indeed, our economy needs more success stories like LMS, with an apprenticeship record we can all celebrate. Learning a trade offers young workers a pathway to family-supporting rewarding work, great pay and excellent benefits, and for the entrepreneurial-minded worker, a chance to start a construction business.

#BCPOLI HOTSTOVE: No Super Bowl For You!

Maclean and Jordan try to overcome the crushing morosity to talk pandemic, vaccinations, Super Bowl party rules, ICBC rebates, BC Liberal leadership race, and (in Jordan’s single geekiest moment in his professional career) the X-Tinction Agenda/Extinction Rebellion.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Diversity and Systemic Discrimination in Today’s Workplace

Kerry and Jordan discuss the latest entry in ICBA Training’s Wellness Series: Diversity and Systemic Discrimination in Today’s Workplace.
This 3-hour session takes a Canadian perspective on the barriers that have been set up to make it difficult for marginalized groups to function effectively in Canadian society, debate the pros and cons of solutions aimed at addressing systemic racism, and examine our own, individual responses to others.

ICBA MEMBER NEWS: Sunrise Kitchens Celebrates $12M Expansion

One of ICBA’s members is almost done an incredible $12 million expansion — and we’re thrilled for them! Check out this note from Sunrise Kitchens:

Sunrise Kitchens, a Surrey-based kitchen cabinet manufacturer, announces the near completion of their $12 million expansion including a significant investment in automated equipment. “The expansion allows us to increase our production capacity to better serve the requirements of the North American West Coast construction and multi-family development industry,” said business owner and CEO Paul Bhogal.

35,000 square feet were added to the existing facility to create a total of 80,000 square feet. This increase will support their transformation towards automated manufacturing applying Kaizen principles along with lean manufacturing thinking, and overall greater value to their customers.

Automated production offers more precision, enhanced efficiency, and a 50% increase in capacity, allowing manufacturing with shorter lead-times, higher quality products, and overall greater value to their customers.

Sunrise Kitchens is proud to have been able to safely continue production throughout the pandemic as well as grow their team to support their expansion and remain delivering products to keep the local construction industry thriving.

Congrats Sunrise Kitchens! If your ICBA member company is celebrating a milestone or significant event, let us know at jordan@icba.ca.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Project Management & Blueprint Reading

Kerry and Jordan chat about two COVID-safe, in-person training courses in Abbotsford. Both come with BC Housing CPD points and a CCA Gold Seal credit.
Our full course list at icba.ca/courses

PINK SHIRT DAY: ICBA Joins British Columbians Standing Up Against Bullying

On February 24, ICBA is joining hundreds of thousands of other British Columbians to support Pink Shirt Day. This year’s focus is working together and treating others with dignity and respect. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all and shown the importance of helping one another and advocating for those who need it. Help us “lift each other up” and support programs that encourage healthy self esteem and teach empathy, compassion and kindness.

ICBA employees will be wearing the official Pink Shirt Day shirts, and proceeds support anti-bullying programs across B.C.

But fighting bullying is an everyday thing. ICBA Training offers various courses to help employers and leaders deal with these issues. Two of those course that are available on-demand:

On February 24, 2021, we encourage everyone to practice kindness and wear pink to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying.