Abinder Sharma was an experienced Electrician and electrical engineer in India.
In 2010, he moved to BC with his wife and two daughters to pursue better opportunities for his family.
However, Sharma was concerned that differences in his certification, his culture and his age would stop him from doing the type of skilled work in Canada he had done in India.
With the help of the Immigrants in Trades Training, Sharma received personalized support, mentorship and financial assistance to pay for the courses he needed in order to learn about the Canadian Electrical Code and to challenge the Red Seal.
Immigrants in Trades Training is helping skilled immigrants who are unemployed or employed and low-skilled overcome barriers to entering the trades. The initiative is assisting skilled new Canadians who already have technical skills from their home countries, but need Canadian certification. It is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA) and is overseen by the Industry Training Authority (ITA).
According to the B.C. Trade Occupations Outlook, the province can expect a skilled labour shortage of at least 160,000 by 2015.
“It was a tough decision to come to Canada and start over again. The Immigrants in Trades Training (ITT) initiative helped me get my previous work experience recognized. Now I’m working at a level similar to where I was in India,” said Sharma.
The Surrey resident is now a Red Seal certified Electrician, and works as a Construction Manager with BC Hydro at its Mica Generating Station, near Revelstoke.
“The Immigrants in Trades Training (ITT) initiative is a key part of unleashing B.C.’s future workforce,” says Erin Johnston, Manager of Labour Supply Initiatives, Industry Training Authority.
“We offer skilled New Canadians technical training in a range of trades, employability skills and access to employers.”
In total, more than 1,300 skilled immigrants like Sharma have completed training or introductory training courses through the Immigrants in Trades Training (ITT) initiative since it first started in 2008.