VICTORIA – A record-breaking number of skilled tradespersons have qualified as journeypersons this year, announced Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell today while touring Camosun College’s carpentry program.

Nearly 8,760 Certificates of Qualification have been awarded by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for the 2011-12 year – more than ever before, at a time when B.C.’s economy needs them the most. This is the highest number of certificates awarded since the ITA was established in 2004, and represents a 20 per cent increase over 2010-11, when 7,318 certificates were awarded.

A Certificate of Qualification, known on the job site as a “ticket”, is a highly-prized credential issued to skilled tradespersons who meet industry-developed standards for theoretical knowledge and workplace proficiency within a trade, either through completing an apprenticeship or successfully completing a challenge assessment. With it, a tradesperson can command full market value as a journeyperson and act as a mentor for other apprentices.

It’s estimated that in the next decade British Columbia will have over one million job openings – including an estimated 104,600 openings in the trades. New projects like the federal shipbuilding contract won by Seaspan and the Northwest Transmission Line are creating trades jobs now and in the coming years – jobs that need to be filled by skilled workers.