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BC Teens Entering Trades Improves by 35%

The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) is reporting better than expected results for BC's skilled workforce in key figures released for the province's industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sector.

One of the biggest gains comes in the ratio of BC high school graduates entering construction trades training programs within one year of graduation. When the BCCA first began calculating this number in 2013 it estimated that one in 93 students went from Grade 12 into trades training. In 2016 that number has improved to one in 69.

Earlier this year BuildForce Canada revised its estimate for BC's skilled worker shortage to 15,000 by 2025, which is 51 per cent lower than their 2013 estimate of 30,500.

Two thirds of BC's construction workforce is over the age of 45. Construction is the largest employer in BC's goods sector, with a total workforce of 210,000 in 2016. The unemployment rate for youth (those aged 15 to 24) has dropped 14 per cent since 2013.

"These trends are all positive, but it's important to recognize that 11.1 per cent youth unemployment means more than 42,000 young people would like to be employed but can't find jobs," said Chris Atchison, provincial manager of the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP). "When you compare that to the skills gap in our sector, the solution seems clear. But the problem is still a long way from being solved."

Construction pays an average year wage of $57,715, an increase of three per cent and second only to the average yearly wage in the oil and gas sector. At 8.2 per cent of BC's GDP and with an estimated $329-billion in proposed projects, trends in the construction workforce have a big impact on the provincial economy, a release reads.

Journal of Commerce

BC Launches Trades Training Pilot Programs

As part of Apprenticeship Recognition Week, the BC government announced that Camosun College will receive more than $331,000 for two innovation pilots that will improve training outcomes for apprentices.

The first pilot, receiving $166,300, sees the conversion of the Level 1 apprentice curriculum for the pipe trades (plumber, steam/pipefitter, sprinkler-fitter and gasfitter) into a blended, two-phase program consisting of an online theory component and a face-to-face practical component.

The program reduces onsite training from six weeks to three weeks and adds four months of access to an online curriculum.

The second pilot, receiving $165,250, delivers training for professional cook Level 3 consisting of both online and in-class learning. All three levels of professional cook training will now be available online.

Through the pilots, the ITA will promote new ways of delivering training programs to enhance apprentices' training experiences and enable them to be more effective on the job.

Innovation pilots are designed to address one or more of the following four outcomes identified by industry:

  • Provide more flexible training that enables employers to keep apprentices at work longer, and allow apprentices to maximize their earning potential;
  • Improve employability and sponsorship out of foundation programs;
  • Increase access to training for rural and under-represented groups; and
  • Improve alignment of technical training to the needs of apprentices and sponsors.

The provincial government invests more than $94 million annually in industry training through the ITA. The ITA leads and coordinates British Columbia's skilled trades system by working with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.

Journal of Commerce

Starting a New Job: The Art of the Quick Win

Written by Elissa Salamy

Starting a new job is always a challenge. You want to make a good first impression, and even though you got the position, you now have to prove that you can do the job. Anxious? Nervous? It's perfectly normal to feel some pressure at first, the trick, though, is to get started on the right foot. In short, you have to make your mark with an early victory. A quick win gets people's attention and can help boost your confidence for the future.

Here are some pointers on mastering the art of the quick win.

Understand what your boss is looking for

Communicating well with your boss and asking questions about what his or her expectations are will set you on the right path from the start. When you understand your boss' expectations, it'll be easier for you to go above and beyond. Once you know what his or her priorities are, you'll be able to focus your energy on what is most important and what will be the most noticed.

Say yes

When you get a chance to take ownership of a project or task, don't hesitate. Volunteer for as much as you can handle. Even if you're still getting a handle on everything, saying yes shows you're excited about your job and interested in getting involved. Knowing that you are willing and eager to take on a challenge will make it more likely that your superiors will ask you to do something again – especially if you do a good job of it.

And if something might be over your head, don't be afraid to ask for help and guidance from your coworkers or manager.

Ask questions efficiently

You'll have plenty of questions when you first start out, and it's hard not to feel like you're bothering your supervisor. There are, thankfully, other ways for you to get answers. Many questions can be answered by actually reading your company's employee manual and other resources that may be provided. Were other employees also recently hired? They might have asked the same question weeks prior and know how it feels to be the new person. When you can't figure the answer out that way, jot down a few questions to take to your supervisor. This way you avoid knocking on his or her door every five minutes.

Meet your team

If you're not introduced to your new team, take the initiative to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Understand their role and function in the company, and how you will have to work together. Ask questions about the company culture, such as what people do on their lunch breaks and how certain policies work. Aside from making you seem friendly, this will also help you avoid awkward situations and fit in quicker. Getting to know your co-workers will also make it easier for you to collaborate on projects, ensuring you always have the right support at the right time.

Gradually make suggestions

As a new person at your job, you have a fresh perspective on operations, allowing you to recognize issues and possible solutions. That is a wonderful tool you should utilize. However, if you start pointing out problems right away, you will likely rub your boss and peers the wrong way. Start by making small suggestions at team meetings and brainstorm sessions and see how these are received. If there is a major problem or complaint that you have that you need to speak to your boss about, come with ideas for possible solutions to the problem.

Why Only 2% of Applicants Actually Get Interviews

Written by Workopolis

The internet has made it very easy for people to search out and apply to many job opportunities. But sending out more applications doesn't increase your chances of getting hired. Sending out better applications does. Employers have told us that sometimes as many as 75% of applicants for a given role aren't actually qualified to do it.

Experts say that only an even smaller fraction than that are selected for an interview. "98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening and only the "Top 2%" of candidates make it to the interview", says Robert Meier, President of Job Market Experts. "Fixing the employment market requires helping job seekers become "Top 2% Candidates" who can meet employer's rigorous requirements and easily hit the "bulls-eye" of employer needs to ensure they don't make bad hires" continued Meier.

Applying for jobs you're unqualified for can hurt your chances at future positions with the company too. The online recruitment software company Bullhorn surveyed 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers and found that such irrelevant applications was the biggest turnoff for 30 percent of them. (And of that group, 43 percent said they would ‘blacklist' those candidates from any other jobs as well – by suppressing their names from even coming up in future resume searches.)

With that in mind, here are three ways that you can elevate your job applications to the top of the list:

Only apply for jobs that you actually qualify for.

Now, this doesn't mean that you have to have every single bullet point listed in the job posting. There is such a thing as ‘credential creep' where employers flood a job ad with a wish list of qualifications that any one candidate is unlikely to possess. Read the job posting carefully. Make sure that you understand the actual duties and challenges of the job, and if you can make a significant contribution in the role, then go ahead and apply.

Explain how you can stand out on the job. Employers want to hire someone who will make their lives easier. So your resume should demonstrate what your past successes can accomplish for them. Avoid listing just your work duties and tasks, but instead focus on your achievements. Make sure the employer knows the added value that you specifically brought to your role. Bear in mind that these should be described in such a way as to highlight their relevance to the challenges of the job you're applying to.

Apply to the job that you're applying to.

That's a grammatically-interesting sentence, but it's nonetheless true. It goes back to what I mentioned earlier about people using a one generic resume to apply for numerous jobs. If the job title on your resume doesn't match the job that you're applying to, there's little chance that you'll make it into the top 2%. Similarly, even if you have the qualifications for the job, if your career objective doesn't match with the role, you're unlikely to be hired for it. It gives the impression that you would be a bad fit for the job, and that you wouldn't stay very long in the position.

Find jobs that you can do and that you would actually like to do.

(There's no point in applying for jobs that you don't actually want.) Research the company, the industry and the specific role. Write a resume and a cover letter that specifically show why you would like to work at that job for that company. Highlight how your past accomplishments demonstrate what you can achieve for them.

A resume that is tailored and specific to a job will always stand out from the crowd of generic applications, and that's how you can make it to the job interview.

How to Answer the 3 Hardest Job Interview Questions

Written by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

*This article originally appeared on Payscale.

Let's face it: there's no such thing as an easy job interview. You're trying to make a good impression and find out more about the company and the job, and you only have a small window of time to do it. Oh, and unless you're one of those weirdos that likes high-pressure situations, you most likely have a serious case of nerves.

Being nervous, of course, is perfectly normal. People are judging you. They also have the power to put you on the spot. What do you do, for example, if you get a strange question like this?

"If you were in a hot air balloon with several other people and it developed a puncture and was sinking and going to crash and somebody had to be chucked out to lighten it, how would you convince everybody it shouldn't be you?"

This was an actual job interview question someone shared on Quora, and it's truly difficult to answer. Thankfully, these kinds of novelty questions are rare. The real questions to worry about are those that are seemingly easy to answer. Simple and borderline mundane, the way you answer these questions can make or break the entire interview.

Here's how to answer the 3 hardest job interview questions.

Tell me about yourself.

Technically, this one isn't a question, but it's still a pit full of quicksand, waiting to suck you down. Honestly, this one should be considered cheating, since it requires almost nothing of the hiring manager, and gives you very little to go on as a candidate. Is the interviewer looking for your entire history in 60 seconds or less? A sense of who you are as a person? An idea of how you'd solve the company's problems and spur the organization to even greater heights of success?

In short, yes to everything. Sounds complicated? It's not really, as long as you have your elevator pitch honed and ready to go. And yes, you need an elevator pitch. Remember that a job interview is more than an opportunity to scope out a new company; it's your chance to sell yourself.

"A formula I really like to use is called the Present-Past-Future formula," says Kathryn Minshew at The Muse. "So, first you start with the present — where you are right now. Then, segue into the past — a little bit about the experiences you've had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future — why you are really excited for this particular opportunity."

What are your salary requirements?

It might be in your best interests to avoid answering this question, but sometimes, you're going to have to come up with a number, either for your salary requirements or your salary history. Salary history is obviously easier, because you can just be honest (don't lie – liars get caught and wind up embarrassed and unemployed). But it's also tougher to deal with from a salary negotiation perspective, because it potentially boxes you in.

For this reason, whether you're asked to give your salary history or your salary requirements, your approach should be the same: come to the table with information on what this position should pay, based on the job requirements, your experience and education, and the location. PayScale's Salary Survey can help you set a range that's appropriate to the role.

Then, if the hiring manager tries to peg your offer to your job history, not the job title in question, take inspiration from this sample script in PayScale's Salary Negotiation Guide, "This position is not exactly the same as my last job. So let's discuss what my responsibilities would be here and then determine a fair salary for this job."

Why did you leave your last job?

If you were let go at your last job, this is maybe the toughest question to face during a job interview.

It's easier, of course, if you were laid off. Just give a brief mention of the restructuring, and refrain from badmouthing your former employer (no matter what the situation).

If you were fired, though, coming up with an answer is a bit harder. The goal is to respond in a way that's honest and reflects well on you (by showing that you're self-aware and have learned something from the experience, for example), while still moving the conversation forward.

Alison Doyle at's Job Searching site gives several good examples of scripts that might work, including:

"After thinking about why I left, I realize I should have done some things differently. That job was a learning experience and I think I'm wiser now. I'd like the chance to prove that to you."

Your answer will vary, depending on your experience and situation. The most important thing is to be prepared with an answer that explains what happened while casting you in a positive light.