Source: Government of Prince Edward Island
Creating Jobs for Islanders
If there’s one group that stands to gain from the effort to attract skilled people to Prince Edward Island, it’s the construction industry.
The fast-growing sector has been enjoying the benefits of a booming housing market together with active commercial construction and increased infrastructure investment from the federal and provincial governments. Now builders need literally hundreds of skilled workers for current jobs – up to 400 immediate openings – and for thousands more in the coming years.
“That’s for skills right across the board.” said Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of Prince Edward Island. “Carpenters are probably at the top of the list, brick layers, plumbers – our industry needs people.”
Another in-demand trade is stonemasons, which Sanderson said are needed for work going on at Province House and other restoration projects going on across the country.
The Construction Association of Prince Edward Island represents 190 companies of all sizes in an industry that employs 8,000 to 9,000 people across the Island. Almost every firm is looking for talent or planning for future vacancies.
Sanderson said he has been asked to be part of a national task force looking at attracting people to the construction industry. An aging workforce and other factors that steer promising students away from the skilled trades will lead to increasing shortages.
“Nationally, we are looking at something like 21 per cent of our current workforce being destined to retire in the next seven to 10 years. We’ll need to replace those retiring people and more.”
The construction industry is reaching out to women, youth, indigenous people, and newcomers who represent the future of the business. Although the Island’s construction industry will likely never pay skilled tradespeople the wages they can earn in the Western Canada oilfields, Sanderson said Prince Edward Island more than makes up for that difference with lifestyle advantages and affordable housing costs.
“I just think there’s so much upside to this industry here in our province, and that people who pursue construction on Prince Edward Island will be glad that they did,” he said.
“I have three granddaughters, and honestly my dream is that someday each of them will own a construction company on Prince Edward Island.”