May’s wildfire took it’s toll on many communities in and around Fort McMurray.
However, Building for many wildfire victims won’t start until spring due to insurance claims process, permits, and the weather, to name a few.
It is anticipated that skilled trades like plumbers will be in high demand.
Alberta Government Concerns
“You have 2,400 buildings that you need to reconstruct. That places a significant demand on the availability of people with plumbing training.” – Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt.
Concerns that the community will not have enough affordable labour have been expressed by the oil sands industry, builders, the municipality and the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce.
$1 million for plumbers
Fort McMurray’s Keyano College has cited plumbing as one of the critical needs needed for a smooth wildfire rebuild. If that weren’t enough, The province intends to spend up to $1 million on Fort McMurray’s first-ever formal plumbing training apprenticeship program at Keyano College.
The college hopes the money will help current plumbing apprentices in the community while attracting new candidates.
The program will use mobile training labs as well as internet and online instruction tailored to the hours students and employers are available; the program’s flexibility is important as the college doesn’t want to pull students away from the rebuild effort.
“Remember we want to support the employers too. Sometimes it’s a hardship to have apprentices leave the work site for four weeks or eight weeks at a time,” Lawlor said. “And so we are looking at a model where we can bring them in for shorter periods of time.”
Neither the college or Schmidt could say specifically how many plumbers Fort McMurray needs, but both hope the program trains enough to fill the gap.