Employers Attract Skilled Trades Workers with Incentives and Positive Learning Culture

NSAA

January 5, 2023

Paul Duykers, now a Red Seal certified carpenter, remembers the “old school” days of what it was like to be an apprentice.

Duykers has been the general manager of construction at Maples Retirement Living in Antigonish, N.S., for 12 years and oversees the construction work of 13 to 15 duplexes (26 to 30 units) each year. With his employer, Steve Smith, owner of Maples Retirement Living, Duykers wants to attract and retain apprentices by creating a welcoming workplace and a positive learning culture.

Plumbers, carpenters, electricians and concrete finishers are among the trades professionals they either employ or sub-contract. However, like many other builders throughout Nova Scotia, Duykers and Smith are feeling the effects of the skilled labour shortage. Recognizing the need to attract and retain skilled trade professionals, Smith offers construction workers perks like financial bonuses and helpful courtesies – such as access to a heated lunch trailer.

“Because most of our work happens at one worksite, we have been able to offer our workers the use of a lunch trailer where they can go to get warm. There are microwaves for heating up lunches, a fridge to keep things cool, and water to stay hydrated,” said Duykers. “Once a week, we receive a free meal that everyone can enjoy together, which is another benefit for us.”

CREATING A POSITIVE LEARNING CULTURE

Maples Retirement Living currently employs four Red Seal carpenters, which provides an added benefit for apprentices as they learn different techniques from experienced builders in the industry.

“There is not just one way of doing things and we encourage our apprentices to learn different techniques by working with the other certified carpenters,” said Duykers, advising apprentices to share their ideas. “If they suggest a different way of doing things that’s more economical, we’ll give it a try,” he added.

Joe Boland is a second-level apprentice who is learning to become a certified carpenter from Duykers. He describes Duykers as “laid back and easy going,” and says his workplace promotes a learning culture where apprentices feel supported when they make a mistake.

“If we mess up, there is no stress. Someone will show you how to do it right,” said Boland.

Duykers believes that patience, appreciation and promoting a safe and positive learning culture is key to attracting and retaining skilled workers.

“Number one, we can’t lose them. Number two, they’re learning so we have to be patient and we have to take steps to ensure they understand the technique,” he explained.

REINVESTING ‘APPRENTICESHIP START’ FUNDING

As an added incentive to attract apprentices, and encourage training completion and certification, Smith is giving back a percentage of the $25,000 Apprenticeship START funding he receives for each trainee.

The Apprenticeship START program is a financial incentive that is available for small to medium-sized businesses and organizations in Nova Scotia, to encourage employers to register, retain and support their apprentices during their apprenticeship journey.

“The guys were just blown away when I told them what they would be getting,” said Duykers. “Mr. Smith is giving 25 per cent of the funding back to the apprentice throughout their apprenticeship journey. So when an apprentice starts a level of training, they receive $250. They then receive another $750 after they complete the level as an incentive to finish, which is $1,000 total each year.”

Smith also reimburses approximately $800 to cover the cost of books, $148 to cover the apprenticeship fee and $148 to cover any exam fees. After they write and pass their Red Seal certification exam, they get another $1000 bonus.

“It’s not easy for apprentices when they are just getting started in their career,” said Smith. “Books and fees are an added expense and if we can help by covering those costs and by treating them well, we hope that it will show them that they are valued.”

Duykers said that when he approached Smith with the idea to reinvest a portion of the Apprenticeship START funding, Smith didn’t even blink an eye.

“I had asked if he would consider giving 20 per cent of the funding incentive back to the apprentices and he wanted to give 25 per cent back instead. That just goes to show how much he values the apprentices who are working here, that he wants to retain them and his commitment to helping them progress,” he said.

To learn more about Apprenticeship START and other incentives available to employers such as Canadian Apprenticeship Service, visit nsapprenticeship.ca/employers/employer-supports.

Source

Related Articles


Latest Articles

  • Video: LEDVANCE Lightpoint Learning Facility

    Video: LEDVANCE Lightpoint Learning Facility

    February 23, 2024 LIGHTPOINT Studio & Showroom, the brand-new corporate classroom training facility, located at their national customer service and sales center (NCSSC) in Westfield, IN. Go HERE for more information Read More…

  • How Effective Communication Reduces Plant Hazards

    How Effective Communication Reduces Plant Hazards

    February 23, 2024 By Rick Farrell, President, PlantTours In plant operations, the margin for error is notoriously slim. The smallest oversight, a single misinterpreted instruction, or an unnoticed alert can be the difference between smooth operations and catastrophic failures. While advanced technologies and protocols play an undeniable part in ensuring safety, the bedrock upon which… Read More…

  • A Guide To The Most Essential Hand Tools for Electricians

    A Guide To The Most Essential Hand Tools for Electricians

    February 22, 2024 By Jonard Tools It is currently a great time to be an electrician- however, you’ll need the right hand tools for the job. In this article Jonard Tools highlight the most essential hand tools for electrical work, as well as dive into the specifics of how they are utilized and why they’re… Read More…

  • New Research on Smart Home Technology and Market Trends

    New Research on Smart Home Technology and Market Trends

    February 22, 2024 AI-driven features in home energy management and security systems excite more than half of the current smart home users, concludes new research exploring the perceptions, preferences, and reservations of residential renters and owners regarding the adoption and usage of smart home technologies. However, the survey also highlights data privacy concerns and high… Read More…


Changing Scene

  • LEDVANCE Canada Welcomes Cristiano Konofal as National Account Manager

    LEDVANCE Canada Welcomes Cristiano Konofal as National Account Manager

    February 26, 2024 LEDVANCE Canada has introduced Cristiano Konofal as their National Account Manager. “I am thrilled to announce the return of Cristiano Konofal as a National Account Manager. Cristiano has extensive experience working with our customer base and has technical skills that will be an asset to our team. We look forward to seeing… Read More…

  • Government of Canada Invests in TDG Transit Design Group

    Government of Canada Invests in TDG Transit Design Group

    February 23, 2024 The Governemnt of Canada has announced a FedDev Ontario investment of over $1.6 million for TDG Transit Design Group, a manufacturer and designer of made-in-Canada, energy-efficient LED lighting systems for the global rail transit industry. Through this investment, TDG Transit Design Group will adopt new equipment at its newly expanded 10,000-square-foot facility… Read More…

  • Alberta to Invest in Apprenticeship Seats Through 2024 Budget

    Alberta to Invest in Apprenticeship Seats Through 2024 Budget

    February 23, 2024 Through their Budget 2024, Alberta’s government would invest an additional $24 million per year over the next three years to create 3,200 apprenticeship seats at 11 post-secondary institutions across the province. The new investment would bring the total funding through the Apprenticeship Learning Grant for the 2024-25 academic year to $78 million…. Read More…

  • PataBid and City Electric Supply Introduce Estimating Software Promotion

    PataBid and City Electric Supply Introduce Estimating Software Promotion

    February 23, 2024  City Electric Supply Corporation CA and PataBid have joined forces to offer our mutual customers an exclusive discount on Quantify electrical estimating software.  Sign up for a free trial and link your CES account to your PataBid Quantify account to unlock this special offer. If you’re not registered with CES yet, drop by… Read More…