May 23,2024

Tradespeople Praise Online Hub For Easy Access To Educational Opportunities

  • Share this story:

As the demand for skilled trades workers in British Columbia continues to surge, experienced professionals are raving about a game-changing online hub that can improve the career trajectory of young tradespeople.

TradeUpBC is an initiative that brings together post-secondary institutes from across BC to help tradespeople find short-term courses and discover new career options they might not have otherwise known about. The website,, provides a singular place to see a variety of micro-credentials and other types of courses.

The importance of such a hub isn’t going unnoticed by those working in the trades. Curtis Hale, Preconstruction Manager at EllisDon, says having one place to look at career alternatives is extremely valuable.

“It (the website) will just give them a centralized spot to go to have a look at things and say, ‘Oh. I've been framing houses for four years and I'm a little bit bored of that. What else is there in the industry that I can have a look at?’ and it gives you just a spot to look and go, ‘Oh wow. I didn't realize that there's a course in mass timber. Geez, that looks really interesting. I should do that.’ So it's just giving that opportunity that may not have been so easily accessible,” explains Hale. “I know when I was a (carpentry) apprentice, I didn't realize there were other little courses to take. You were very focused on just getting through your apprenticeship.”

Hale began his career in carpentry before transitioning to project management. He then upgraded his training with courses in quantity surveying, construction management, and eventually mass timber construction, so he knows how vital it is to adapt to industry changes.

“I think it’s important to upscale as a tradesperson, as it’s going to keep you ahead of trades, keep you up to date on new technologies, expose yourself to others outside your current network, and position yourself for advancement within your career.”

The website currently highlights seven industries for tradespeople to find courses: construction, environmental trades, hair & esthetics, hospitality, manufacturing, maritime trades, and transportation trades. However, many of the courses offered apply to almost every industry, even beyond the skilled trades.

Lisa Beare, BC’s Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, says one of the goals of this government-funded initiative is to save time for tradespeople.

“We understand that time is valuable and expensive for tradespeople,” emphasizes Bear. “With a range of training options including online learning, in-person, and a blend of choices, we want to ensure that upgrading your skills doesn’t compromise your schedule or your income. Night or weekend classes cater to the diverse timelines of our hardworking trades community.”

Another trades professional who appreciates the TradeUpBC website is Dennis Green. After starting as a chef, Green’s career evolved to an industry-sector role at go2HR, which led him to different project management, consulting, and leadership roles.

Green now owns South Arm Training & Development, a company that provides workforce development, competency-based training, and assessment consulting services. He credits his career path, in part, to the courses he took on leadership, adult education, and project management. He knows how much it means to young tradespeople to have easy access to new educational opportunities.

“Taking a few short courses to strengthen my skills in leadership or educational design, things like that, and being able to have those opportunities is really important,” says Green, who is also aware of the value of a one-stop shop for courses and training options like the TradeUpBC website. “Having all the information in one place, I think, is critical. I think one of the hardest things is you can decide what you want to do and then where do you go to find that information.”

Green especially likes how several BC post-secondary institutes have come together to put their relevant courses on the same site. “Anything that involves collaboration rather than having 15 different colleges all do their own thing independently, all in different directions. Having this one focused approach is great.”

The website, which launched in late 2023, includes courses from post-secondary institutes in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and many parts of the BC Interior. New institutes will also be added in the coming month, so check the enrollment page for an updated list.