Trades Discovery Sponsorship Program Launched

September 19, 2002

Concert and Industry Partners Back Student Exploring Trades at BCIT

Vancouver, BC, Canada - Concert and its construction industry partners are helping BC Institute of Technology trades students find focus through the Trades Discovery Sponsorship Program launched today.

Concert Properties and its partners have stepped up to the challenge posed by an acute shortage of skilled tradespeople in the construction industry. A report earlier this year by the BC Chamber of Commerce identified the growing shortage of skilled workers - a particular problem in the construction industry - as the top economic issue facing the province.

"Our industry needs to take a leadership role in addressing the skills shortage," said David Podmore, President & CEO of Concert Properties. "I'm delighted that so many of our colleagues in the construction industry are willing to join this initiative to encourage young people to consider the trades as a career option."

Partnering with Concert in the Trades Discovery Sponsorship Program initiative are: Bel Construction Ltd., Bosa Construction Inc., Dominion Construction Ltd., Fraser River Pile & Dredge Ltd., Harris Rebar, Gallagher Bros. Contractors Ltd., Keith Plumbing & Heating Co. Ltd., Modern Drywall Construction Co. Ltd., T. Moscone & Bros. Landscaping Ltd., Mott Electric Ltd., National Hydronics Ltd., Optima Building Systems Ltd., PCL Constructors Canada Inc., Scott Canada, and Templeton Mechanical Ltd.

Concert is matching the $29,750 contributed by its industry partners, for a total of $59,500 raised in the first year of the program. The money will be used to finance entrance awards and grants to students enrolled in two innovative programs offered through BCIT's School of Transportation. The programs help students to evaluate their suitability for working in the trades and determine which trade to pursue. Trades Discovery General (open to men and women) and Trades Discovery for Women are offered on a full-time basis over a 20-week period in each of the fall and spring semesters at BCIT. Students receive hands-on experience in approximately 20 different trades.

The sponsorship program will reward each student that completes the program with a $200 grant to help recover the cost of enrolment. Those who choose to continue on in an eligible full-time trades program offered at BCIT may apply for one of 25 $1,000 entrance awards.

"I congratulate the firms for taking the lead on this important trades training initiative," said Graham Bruce, Minister of Skills Development and Labour. "British Columbia's employers know best what skills are needed for their industry. Concert and its partners have found a good solution to addressing these skills shortages."

"The leadership demonstrated by Concert Properties and its industry partners exemplifies how important building awareness of the opportunities in the trades is to BCIT and the construction industry at large," said Laurie Clarke, BCIT Foundation Executive Director. "We welcome their leadership, direct support to students, and the long-range impact this will have on future student enrolment in BCIT trades programs."

Trades Discovery instructor Tamara Pongracz said the two programs are in high demand. "Concert Properties' contribution is a motivational solution to the pending skills shortage. It's great to see support for students in their pursuit of and access to trades training."

BCIT is a national leader delivering a full range of polytechnic education. BCIT works with industry to develop programs and curricula that reflect current industry practices.

About Concert
Properties Concert is an award-winning diversified real estate enterprise involved in developing and acquiring commercial and industrial properties, rental housing, multi-family condominium housing, seniors living communities, and resort developments in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

For media inquiries contact:
Heather Harley
Telephone: 604.602.3713

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