Throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, demand for structural steel and metal fabricators, welders, machinists and operators is booming.
To fill these positions with highly skilled, trained Ironworkers, the Iron Workers District Council of Western Canada partnered with the Ironworker Management Cooperative Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) to provide partial funding for the launch of Workunion.ca, an innovative new website that helps employers identify and hire highly skilled tradesmen and apprentices quickly and easily.
“Throughout Canada, we employ many machine operators and welders, but there are quite a few other diverse shops we work with—windows, aerospace, you name it,” said Iron Workers General President Walter Wise. “We have about 3,000 Shop Ironworkers currently employed in Western Canada—yet we are now seeing additional opportunities to supply the market and grow our union.”
According to President Wise, Workunion.ca, in part, is the solution to fulfilling demand and providing quality workers to employers.
Skilled workers looking for placement can simply access the website and submit credentials and background information. Applications are routed to the appropriate Ironworker Business Manager, who then screens the application and keeps the information on file, passing it along when an employer requests workers.
Workunion.ca also accepts applications from those looking to enter the building trades as an apprentice. “Many companies are also looking to groom the workforce of tomorrow by taking on apprentices,” President Wise said. Hiring apprentices is a cost-effective venture for many employers, in addition to being a good way train the next generation of Ironworkers with specific or in-demand skill sets.
According to Darrell LaBoucan, President of the Iron Workers District Council of Western Canada and the Iron Workers Executive Director of Canadian Affairs, Workunion.ca is a win-win program for both Ironworkers and Contractors throughout Western Canada. “Contractors in our region don’t have to advertise to hire apprentices or skilled workers. Instead, they just call the local, put in a request, and the Business Manager can refer workers based on the employer’s needs.” Moreover, LaBoucan said, the website cuts the hiring process down by a couple of weeks.
“We are excited to have benefited from funding from IMPACT to deliver such a stellar program,” LaBoucan added.
Tradesmen seeking employment also hailed the launch of the new platform on November 3. In fact, Ironworker locals received more than 200 applications within the first three days following the website’s launch. Within five days, applicants were already at work.
IMPACT works with Ironworker locals in thirteen different regions across North America to provide grants for innovative programs, like Workunion.ca, which are designed to create more job opportunities for Ironworkers.