9 in-demand trades jobs in British Columbia for 2023 and beyond

Nearly every sector in the market is experiencing a rapid shift in skilled labour. Today, tradespeople are one of the most heavily impacted by the changing market landscape. While this may sound like a challenge, it’s actually an opportunity.

According to the latest Labour Market Outlook Report, more than one million job openings are expected in BC over the next decade – including many openings in the trades sector. At BCIT, we offer numerous programs that help tradespeople upskill or reskill according to industry needs in their field of choice. Here are nine BCIT programs to help you get into in-demand trades jobs in BC for 2023 and beyond.

1. Automotive Service Technician

As baby boomers retire, the need for skilled automotive technicians is as high as ever. With 6,670 job openings are forecasted in the next decade, BCIT offers an Automotive Technician apprenticeship program that provides a breadth of technical knowledge, paired with hands-on training to ensure students are job-ready upon graduation. For those wanting a shorter path to employment, a 30-week entry-level Automotive Technician Foundation program is available, and allows students to ladder to the full-time program should they decide to do so later on.

Due to Canada’s mandate for zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035, BCIT also offers specialized training for electric vehicles (EV) in partnership with TESLA. The first-of-its-kind, students in this program can expect hands-on and industry-focused skills to become Red Seal Certified Automotive Service Technicians focusing on EVs. We set our students up for success by providing them an opportunity to have potential employment with Tesla Service Centers throughout Canada.

Average annual salary: $52,140

2. Auto Body and Collision Technician

Did you know that ICBC reported an estimated of 285,000 crashes in BC in the past 5 years? Tradespeople looking to specialize in auto body and collision repair should take advantage of BCIT’s Auto Body and Collision Technician Apprenticeship program. Performing safety-related functions, using welding equipment, and applying refinishing materials, are among the many skills students will learn to prepare themselves for a career in auto body and collision.

Average annual salary: $53,141

3. Heavy Duty Equipment Technician

Heavy duty equipment technicians touch almost every industry, including transportation, forestry, and construction. Due to their versatile nature, the forecasted job openings for heavy duty equipment technicians is upwards of 1,890 in the next decade.

Handling large vehicles – such as excavators and bulldozers, require a different type of skillset than a regular automotive service technician. Automotive technicians interested in upskilling, or tradespeople wanting to enter the heavy duty equipment specialization, can benefit from BCIT’s Heavy Duty Equipment Technician apprenticeship program. This program teaches you how to fix and maintain heavy duty mechanical systems while earning your SkilledTradesBC Certificate of Qualification.

Those interested in joining at a junior level can consider the Heavy Mechanical Trades Foundation program – which can be completed in just 36 weeks.

Average annual salary: $79,253

4. Motorcycle Technician

816,443 motorcycles and mopeds were registered in 2021 – a 9% increase from last year, indicating the largest growth compared to other vehicles. As motorcycles become increasingly popular, motorcycle technicians rise in demand as well. To prepare students to be job-ready, the Motorcycle Technician apprenticeship program provides 6,720 workplace hours in addition to 600 in-school hours of technical training for those interested in this specialization.

Additionally, the Motorcycle Technician Foundation is a 20-week program designed to provide students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enter the trade. This program is ideal for new tradespeople, or those who wish to reskill or upskill into this in-demand field.

Average annual salary: $54,226

5. Industrial Electrician

In today’s digital era, industrial equipment is becoming more complex and computerized as ever. The increased use of automated mills, mines, and gas operations in construction calls for skilled industrial electricians who can install, maintain, and repair these new systems. In the next decade, approximately 1,350 job openings are expected in the industrial electrician profession.

Industrial electricians work with all areas of computerized control, programmable logic controllers, and electrical devices for a wide range of worksites. Ideal for electricians interested in both electrical and mechanical work, BCIT offers a four-year program that will allow students to have intense in-school technical training, as well as the necessary application, installation, repair, calibration, and tuning skills of new electrical equipment and control devices used in a variety of industrial sectors.

With Canada’s push for renewable energy, BCIT is at the forefront for providing training on renewable energy electrical systems. Tradespeople keen on upskilling in this sector should enroll in the Advanced Certificate in Renewable Energy Electrical Systems Installation and Maintenance (REESIM). This certificate is for those who enjoy adapting to new technology and want to seize the opportunity to take positive action for the environment.

Average annual salary: $82,381

6. Carpentry

BCIT’s carpentry training programs are uniquely designed to support tradespeople who want to learn more about sustainable construction and building to net zero standards. With 5,760 carpentry job openings forecasted in the next decade, skilled carpenters who adhere to sustainable construction will have an advantage in finding work in BC.

The Carpentry Apprenticeship program provides students with rigorous training on the assembly, construction, and installation of interior and exterior residential, commercial, and industrial structures made of wood, steel, concrete, and most recently, mass timber.

A Carpentry Framing and Forming Foundation Certificate is also available for students looking for entry-level employment in the carpentry trade.

Average annual salary: $58,397

7. Sheet Metal

Sheet metal workers have a long list of job responsibilities, including reading blueprints and specifications, layout and fabrication, installation of sheet metal systems, and welding, among others. Sheet metal tradespeople are becoming increasingly in demand due to its challenging and lucrative nature. According to WorkBC, sheet metal tradespeople are particularly in-demand in urban areas, with 820 job openings forecasted in the next 10 years.

Students who are interested in learning how to fabricate and install basic sheet metal products and systems should take a look at BCIT’s entry-level Sheet Metal Worker Foundation program. Students from this foundation program can ladder into a Sheet Metal Apprenticeship program – designed for more seasoned tradespeople who are ready for intense work based training that can help them gain their full Red Seal credential.

Average annual salary: $60,482

8. Security Systems Technician

With the advancement of technology, many sectors across industries are starting to double down on the need for enhanced security and surveillance. BCIT offers an exciting Security Systems Technician program that provides students with the skills to install, maintain, repair, and test equipment for intrusion alarms, camera and surveillance systems, card access and personnel monitoring, and home automation and entertainment systems.

The first-of-its-kind in North America, graduates from this program can expect to be equipped with in-demand skills in a rapidly growing sector upon completion of their studies.

Average annual salary: $60,170

9. Piping Trades

In a hot but under tapped market, piping trades – plumbing, steamfitting, gasfitting, and sprinklerfitting – are identified by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) as prized jobs. Due to building code requirements becoming more extensive, the demand for piping tradespeople is forecasted to open 820 jobs in the next 10 years.

Especially in commercial and industrial sectors, piping tradespeople can expect to find a lucrative job market. To get started, BCIT offers a Piping Foundation program that prepares students for entry-level employment in all areas of the piping trades. With an exposure to a diverse skillset, students will be prepared to make informed decisions about which career path best suits them.

When ready to specialize, students have the opportunity to enroll in a full-time apprenticeship program, such as the Plumber Apprenticeship at BCIT, for a deeper dive and more hands-on training into the field.

Average annual salary: $80,421

Job-ready and qualified

97% of BCIT Apprenticeship completers found employment upon graduation in 2021. As the largest trades training provider in Canada, BCIT is focused on preparing our students with job-ready skills and renowned qualifications, such as the Red Seal endorsement, upon successful completion of studies.

Ready for the future? Talk to our advisors to figure out which of these in-demand trades are right for you.

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