Lethbridge construction industry struggles to find skilled workers: experts – Lethbridge

According to Economic Development Lethbridge, the number of workers needed by the local construction industry has dropped by 200 since July, which contradicts the numbers seen in Calgary and Edmonton.

“We’ve seen the construction sector lose jobs over the past few months, so it’s a bit of an ongoing trend,” CEO Trevor Lewington explained.

“In fact, the construction sector has not recovered since the pandemic, and so it is an exception to most other sectors of the local economy.”

Lewington said jobs in this sector in the Lethbridge census metropolitan area were at their lowest in August since 2017.

He said he couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason, but it could be linked to slower residential development caused by higher interest rates or fewer large-scale constructions like the Center. of Science from the University of Lethbridge.

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According to the City of Lethbridge, “New residential homes are down only a few from the same time last year, but all other construction projects are still consistent or even up from what they were”. The city said the current overall value of residential construction at this point in 2022 is higher than at the same time last year.

“Although we have no data, anecdotally our planning and design department has not heard of an increase in unemployment in the construction industry,” a city statement said.

The numbers confused Erin Low, executive director of the Lethbridge Construction Association.

“From early spring until now, our members tell us commercial construction has been very busy,” Low said.

“He stayed busy. Some of them are actually behind because they don’t have enough skilled workers.

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Low added that many workers took early retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I still don’t think there are enough people to fill the positions that already exist,” admitted Sheldon Anderson, Dean of the Lethbridge College Trades Centre.

Anderson said there is interest in the college’s construction trades apprenticeship programs, such as welding, plumbing and carpentry, but the industry still has a gap.

“I still get calls almost daily from companies asking if we know anyone looking for a job,” he said.

Industry players stress the importance of educating and informing the next generation about the construction sector in Lethbridge, including working with schools and involving young people in the trades.

“We want to make sure that as more projects come into the city, as the construction industry recovers, there’s this (available),” Lewington said.

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