April 8, 2019 10:59 am
Updated: April 8, 2019 11:00 am

Red River College trying to fill skilled trades employment gap, says president

The downtown campus of Red River College.

File / Global News

The Trudeau government is making training in the skilled trades a priority. Last month’s federal budget included $1.7 billion over five years to help workers upgrade their skills.

The Business Council of Manitoba has said there are thousands of job vacancies in the province, but not enough qualified people to fill them.

Red River College president and CEO Paul Vogt told 680 CJOB he’s aware of the demand, and that colleges and trade schools like RRC are a tried-and-tested route to solid employment.

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“We need to get the word out about that,” he said. “There are a lot of jobs, but they require specialized training.

“These jobs – across all of the trades, but also health, engineering and business – these are all well-paying jobs, and the way to get them is through post-secondary.”

READ MORE: New culinary research centre coming to Red River College

RRC recently expanded facilities at its Notre Dame campus and is currently constructing a new building in the Exchange District to meet increased demand for skilled workers.

The Notre Dame expansion, called the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, can accommodate around 1,000 students a year in high-demand trades and technologies, such as carpentry, electrical and heating, sheet metal, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC).

“That’ll allow is to train more workers for those fields, and we’re expanding at our downtown campus to meet demand in business administration, in IT, in some of the commercial arts,” said Vogt.

“We survey all of our graduates six months out from graduation and we find consistently that 94-95 per cent of our graduates are finding work in the areas that they trained for.

“It means it’s a virtual guarantee that if you’ve earned a credential from RRC, that you will find work in what you’re aiming to do.”

WATCH: Two Winnipeg skills trade workers return from the 44th WorldSkills Competition

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