When Alfred emigrated from Taiwan in 1992, he found a good career in the printing trade.
But when he turned 50, he realized that his eyesight was no longer sharp enough to allow him to keep working at the same job. Since he had always enjoyed working with his hands, he decided to explore opportunities in the trades. He discovered that courses were expensive and looked into programs that could help him pay for the cost of training. At first he was discouraged, because many programs were intended for recent immigrants, or for people who received Employment Insurance, and Alfred didn’t meet these criteria.
Alfred got a lucky break when he contacted the BC Construction Association (BCCA). They told him about a new program that could help immigrants like him. This program, sponsored by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), was offered through the ITA Immigrants in Trades Training initiative and would help him to train for a career as a roofing tradesperson.
“The BCCA told me that the construction industry needed more people with these skills,” Alfred explained. “I knew it would be easier to get a good job when I completed my training.”
Through the ITA Immigrants in Trades Training initiative, the BCCA offered Alfred support to help him retrain, including paid tuition for a 10-day roofing course. As well as free training, Alfred received other benefits, such as bus tickets to cover travel costs, free lunch and coffee every day, basic tools and work-boots, and first aid training. “This was an incredible program,” Alfred said. “They gave me so much. The tools are very expensive, but they paid for everything I needed.”
Alfred was taught by a senior trainer from one of Vancouver’s top roofing companies. “He was fantastic – so knowledgeable!” Alfred exclaimed. When he completed his training, he was happy to learn that the same company planned to hire him as an apprentice. He will earn a good wage while he gets on-the-job experience, and at the end of four years, he will be a Red Seal certified tradesperson able to work anywhere in Canada.
“It’s a good fit,” said Alfred. “I really like working outside and working with my hands. I will stay in the construction business, because it’s a long-term business, it’s a long-term job.”
To download Alfred's printable profile sheet, click here.