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Careers in the Skilled Trades

How a New Program Is Securing the Future of the Construction Industry 

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

Jodie Lucas

Executive Director, AID

Mulisius Joe

Regional Project Coordinator, AID

A skilled labour shortage threatens Canada’s construction industry. A bold new program focused on apprentice retention is helping secure its future. 

Canada’s construction industry is facing a critical shortage of skilled labour. Projections indicate that by 2033, approximately 263,400 workers will retire, which accounts for 21 per cent of the current labour force. To maintain the crucial contributions to Canada’s economy and infrastructure, bold new strategies for recruitment and retention are needed.  


The UBC Canadian District has rolled out a robust new program designed to support apprentices throughout their journey, ensuring they have access to the resources and mentorship they need to thrive in their careers. The Apprentice Integration Development Program (AID) program, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, builds on the foundation of the previous Apprenticeship Service Program (ASP), concluded in 2024, which primarily focused on increasing apprenticeship opportunities and fostering diversity in the sector. The AID program focuses on retention and support by offering comprehensive support to new and existing apprentices, with a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Between a standardized onboarding program, dedicated financial support for new apprentices, and a national mentorship initiative, the AID program is set to elevate apprenticeship training and support across the country. Addressing the immediate skilled labour shortage is one of its major goals, but fostering a more inclusive and overall skilled workforce is just as important. 

Below, Jodie Lucas, AID’s Executive Director, and Mulisius Joe, Regional Project Coordinator for AID, weigh in on how the AID program will help set a new standard for Canada’s construction industry.

How will the AID program help address retention and recruitment in this crucial sector? 

JL: A new standardized onboarding process is one of the AID program’s biggest contributions. Making onboarding consistent across the country will not only ensure that apprentices acquire all the necessary skills but will also provide peace of mind for employers who can trust the uniform quality of training.

The onboarding process includes power skills training covering areas such as cultural bias training, and the “Be More Than a Bystander” program, which supports a genuinely supportive and inclusive work environment. Also, the AID program integrates a national mentorship initiative, pairing apprentices with experienced mentors to guide them through their exciting new careers.

Many new apprentices face financial barriers when entering the trades. How will the AID program help? 

MJ: Financial barriers have long been a significant challenge for apprentices, so making training and certification more accessible is crucial. The program offers $300 for personal protective equipment, $500 for dependent care subsidies, $500 for transportation, and $100 for union fees for members. This financial assistance ensures that economic constraints do not hinder apprentices from pursuing their training and advancing their careers, which is often especially important for equity-deserving groups. 

How does the AID program incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?

JL: DEI is at the heart of both the AID and ASP programs — the latter saw 80 per cent of apprentices hired from equity-deserving groups. The AID program aims to build on this success by continuing to break down barriers to entry and support apprentices from all backgrounds.

Visit to learn more about how the AID program will help secure the future of Canada’s next generation of construction professionals. 

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