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Whistler resident Peter Pocklington was among 150 business, labour and education leaders from all over B.C. at a gathering in Richmond recently to help launch a new volunteer advisory structure developed by the Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission. Pocklington serves on the Cladder Trade Advisory Committee, one of 16 such groups to have had their first meetings under the new ITAC advisory structure. Province-wide participation includes more than 500 members in a total of 69 committees appointed by the commission to make recommendations on B.C. requirements and standards for as many trades and occupations. "There’s a lack of trained and qualified cladders and sheet metal roofing workers in the industry servicing this area," said Pocklington. "Our committee is working to address that in co-operation with the Roofing Contractors Association of B.C. The objective is to provide skilled tradespeople for the Sea to Sky Corridor and the rest of the province." The IATC, responsible for all work-based training in B.C., spends $70.4 million annually to train new workers, upgrade the skills of those already on the job and provide learning opportunities for young people and under-represented groups including women, aboriginal people, visible minorities and people with disabilities. "All of this is especially critical and we are grateful for the voluntary efforts of individuals like Pocklington," said ITAC CEO Kerry Jothen. "B.C. communities like Whistler are on the verge of a serious labour shortage. In the next 10 years, 40 per cent of trades workers will retire. Not only must we train replacements, but also men and women to fill new jobs created by economic growth." The advisory mandate now extends to entry-level trades training offered by public colleges and institutes to provide basic theoretical and practical knowledge as pre-employment or pre-apprenticeship training.

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