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Newcomers working in British Columbia's construction industry

Gavin’s first visit to Canada decided his future. He fell in love with the country and its promise of possibility. He was determined to plant roots, personally and professionally, and grow here, succeed here.

“I wanted to find a career, anything that would allow me to move forward. I didn’t mind starting from the bottom,” says Gavin.

No one ever said growth was easy, and Gavin knew that from day one of his Canadian permanent residency. He left Manchester, England for resettlement in Revelstoke, British Columbia with its surrounding prime ski hills, smaller population, and day’s worth of a drive to the major city of Vancouver. He’ll admit the tight-knit community was a random decision, but adventure and change require some risk and he vowed to make it work.

Making it work would rely on an employment break – some kind of connection to a local business for a career path that fit him.

“I have a pretty strong track record with interviews. Typically if I can get the interview, I’ll get the job.”

The journey to catch that break and get an interview — an interview that would, in fact, land him a job — came with the help of the British Columbia Construction Association’s Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) program. This pre-arrival service, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, is designed to support individuals before they arrive in Canada by helping them enter the BC construction industry and settle into their communities.

Gavin’s background was in Project Management for an IT company, but that wasn’t going to be his future. He left that behind. He needed something new, something different and challenging.

His own research led to a strong interest in Joinery/Cabinetmaking. This interest then led to a meeting with Natalie, a Regional Employment Placement Specialist with BCCA-IN. And that’s when things started to connect.

Natalie hit the ground running to get me leads,” says Gavin. “I think the hardest part [of the job search] is not having contacts to engage with – it’s a massive plus to have your team vouch for a candidate. Gives us an advantage.”

After some discussion concerning location options, as Gavin contemplated another move to Vancouver but continued to be open to opportunities in other communities, Natalie’s contacts guided him to Team Construction Management Limited in Kelowna, BC. Here he could see a future as a Joiner/Cabinet Maker.

The British Columbia Construction Association Pre-Arrival Training Program

The British Columbia construction industry is projected to have upwards of 25,000 construction jobs available due to a lack of skilled labour in the province.  For this reason, the Canadian government has funded this program geared to getting skilled workers into employment that matches their skills.

To learn more about the BCCA-IN program, register for our upcoming infosession.