Skills gap

IT’S A game any local resident can play. And it’s free.

IT’S A game any local resident can play. And it’s free.

Take 10 minutes and stand on one of the sidewalks of the overpass and watch the traffic.

There’s one of those light blue pickup trucks belonging to Valard, B.C. Hydro’s main contractor on its Northwest Transmission Line.

And there’s a white pickup with AltaGas on its side. That’s the company spending $1 billion building three run-of-river hydroelectric projects up north, power from which will flow into the transmission line.

The logos and names, some of which are familiar and some not, go  by in a flurry of shapes and colours.

It’s all a sign of a growing economy based on real boots on the ground projects such as the transmission line and anticipation of the head-spinning multi-billions in liquefied natural gas projects.

The tricky part is ensuring that more and more of these vehicles are being driven either by people who have moved here or by northwestern residents who are trained in the wide diversity of skills needed to survive and thrive.

Debate about skills training, or rather, a skills training gap, was all the rage in the run-up to May’s provincial election. As more and more companies seek social licence, defined as acceptance of their particular project, and as the federal and provincial governments encourage development, closing that skills gap must be at the top of the list.