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New arrangement to compare trade qualifications could offset Alberta’s skilled labour shortage

CALGARY-  A new agreement between Canadian community colleges and a national agency in the United Kingdom could help fill some of the growing skilled labour shortage in Alberta.

On Thursday, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges announced it had signed a deal with the United Kingdom’s National Recognition Information Centre to identify how British and Irish trade qualifications match up to Canadian requirements.

Local labour experts say the arrangement should make it easier for British and Irish workers to have their skills recognized in Alberta and could help fill shortages in a number of fields.

“What was missing was the ability to take a skilled person, let’s say from England, and compare that to a Canadian or Albertan equivalent,” says Ken Vinge, vice-president of Bowen Workforce Solutions. “This deal will help us do that.”

Some trades instructors say even though Alberta classrooms are full, it is still not enough to satisfy the growing demand for skilled labour by Alberta’s employers.

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“It is important that we produce qualified trades people and we do our best to keep up with demand but there are certain limitations like class size and so forth,” says Dan Weinart, a carpentry instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

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