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.

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People in this occupation make, assemble, put up, test, maintain and repair boilers, vessels, tanks, towers, heat exchangers and other heavy-metal structures. Due to the labour-intensive and highly specialized nature of the occupation, skilled boilermakers are in high demand.

BCIT offers intensive boilermaker training through the BCIT Foundation and Apprenticeship programs. The Foundation program will provide students with the full range of knowledge and skills required to fit, install, assemble, erect, repair and maintain a wide variety of vessels, tanks, towers, hoists and other structures, as well as ancillary equipment and fixtures made of metals and fibreglass materials.

Upon completion of the foundation program, students move to the apprenticeship program, where they must complete 5,700 workplace hours and 360 in-school hours of training, including a mandatory six-month Entry Level Technical training.

After completion of training, a passing grade on exams will result in the BC Certificate of Qualification, BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, and the Red Seal Interprovincial Certification.

Average annual salary: $94,728

Cabinetmakers (Joinery)

Cabinetmakers, or otherwise known as joiners, use a variety of woods, laminates and other materials to construct and repair cabinets, furniture, fixtures and related products. People in this career are detail-oriented and good with their hands. According to WorkBC, there is over 500 job openings forecasted in this field in BC in the next decade.

Students interested in cabinetmaking can take advantage of the BCIT Cabinetmaking Foundation program – a 25-week full-time program that prepares students for entry-level employment in the cabinetmaker trade. Equipped with basic theory and hands-on experience, students become competent in basic interior woodworking tasks.

When ready to take the next step, students have the opportunity to enroll in a full-time Cabinetmaking apprenticeship program, for a deeper dive into the field and an opportunity to hone their craft.

Average salary: $50,054

Digital Communications and Wireless Technologies Technician

Digital communications is the transfer and reception of data in the form of a digital bitstream or a digitized analog signal transmitted over a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication channel. Digital communications and wireless technologies technicians install, test, maintain and repair telephones, telephone switching equipment and telecommunications equipment related to transmission and processing of voice, video signals and other data over a variety of media including fibre optics, microwave, radio, and satellite.

At BCIT, students interested in this field can take the Digital Communications and Wireless Technologies diploma – a two-year program that prepares students in the data and wireless/radio frequency (RF) telecommunications industries. By learning from industry experts in the field, having access to state-of-the-art labs, and getting hands-on work experience, students can expect to hit the ground running upon graduation.

With 1,150 job openings forecasted in this field in BC in the next decade, a BCIT diploma shows potential employers that students have the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills to be competitive in this field.

Average salary: $68,825

Industrial Instrumentation Technician

Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics repair, maintain, calibrate, adjust, and install the dials, sensors and other instrumentation that measures and controls machinery in industrial and commercial plants. There is forecasted to be around 310 job openings in this field in BC in the next decade – arising due to both retirement and creation of new jobs. According to WorkBC, the industrial instrumentation industry reports an urgent need for more skilled and qualified control technicians. As such, there is currently a high employment rate for graduates of these programs.

Responding to this demand, BCIT offers the only Industrial Instrumentation and Process Control Technician diploma program of its kind in BC. Through both theoretical and practical study, students in this program will be equipped with in-depth knowledge in process control and optimization on four pilot processes – distillation, evaporation, mineralization, and boilers.

An Instrumentation and Control Technician apprenticeship program is also available for active apprentices already registered with SkilledTradesBC. The apprenticeship program spans four-years, 6,000 workplace hours, and 1,200 in-school hours of training. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to receive the BC Certificate of Qualification, BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, and the Red Seal Interprovincial Certification.

Average salary: $83,424

Machinist and Machining and Tooling Inspector

Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to cut or grind metal, plastic, or other materials to make or modify parts or products with precise dimensions. The demand for machinists and machining and tooling inspectors is driven by the continuous growth of the Manufacturing and Transportation industries in BC. More than 1,000 job openings are forecasted in this field in BC in the next decade, with a particular emphasis on professionals who have combined work experience and class-time instruction.

Those interested in entering the field at a junior level are eligible to take the Machinist Foundation program at BCIT. This program combines basic theory with hands-on practice that will enable students to become competent in the basic operations needed to make industrial parts and components according to engineering drawings.

Upon completion of this program, students can ladder up to an apprenticeship in the Machinist trade – potentially earning them the BC Certificate of Qualification, BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, and the Red Seal Interprovincial Certification.

Average salary: $68,825

Marine Mechanical Technician

A marine mechanical technician is a person who installs, diagnoses, repairs and maintains engines, drive trains and other mechanical systems such as electrical, hydraulic, and domestic fluid systems used in the recreational marine industry. As the baby boomer generation retires, there is expected to be more than 700 job openings in the field to replace experienced workers – particularly those skilled with computer applications that help increase productivity.

The Marine Mechanical Technician Foundation program at BCIT provides students with a comprehensive education in many of the foundational skills needed in this field, including Electrical, Engine Operation, Hydraulic Systems, Welding, and more.

Students complete this program with the confidence of having a comprehensive knowledge base in their toolbox, and an understanding of the latest tools and technology needed to succeed in the field.

Average salary: $68,825

Motorcycle Technician

There were 816,443 motorcycles and mopeds registered in 2021 – a 9% increase from the previous 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: $72,996

Sheet Metal

Sheet metal workers have an extensive 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: $62,568

Trades Discovery

Not quite sure what to specialize in? The Trades Discovery program at BCIT is designed to allow students extensive access to the myriad of trades and technical training options at our Institute. Students gain hands-on experience in approximately 15 different trades disciplines, including: layout and fabrication, general piping, carpentry framing, welding, wiring and working on mechanical systems in automobiles, aircraft, and heavy equipment.

In addition to exploring various trades programs, students get to partner with industry in a two-week internship – deepening their skills and getting a taste of the career through hands-on experience.

In furthering the BCIT commitment of fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion, our Institute also offers a specialized Trades Discovery for Women.

Job-ready and qualified

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. BCIT graduates have a 97% employment rate for apprentice completers, and 91% employment rate for trades foundation and trades-related vocational graduates*.

Ready to embark on an exciting trades training for a complex world? Talk to our advisors to figure out which of these in-demand trades are right for you.


(*Source: BC Student Outcomes, prepared by BC Stats, 2022)

2 thoughts on “9 in-demand trades jobs in British Columbia for 2023 and beyond”

  1. I am from China with a bachelor’s degree and have been working for 6 years. What are the requirements if I want to participate in this project?


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