Apprenticeship advisor hired for East Kootenay

Industry Training Authority Marlin Ratch act as the on-the-ground resource for apprentices and employers in the East Kootenay’s.

Earlier this month, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) introduced their newly appointed apprenticeship advisor Marlin Ratch, who will act as the on-the-ground resource for apprentices and employers in the East Kootenay’s.

“When I saw the job ad itself, I knew I wanted this job,” Ratch said.”

Ratch introduced himself to the community in Cranbrook on November 4, with nearly 50 local apprentices, employers and industry representatives gathering at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort to hear him speak.

The former Director of the Employment and Training program for the Métis Nation of British Columbia brings with him 18 years of experience in coordinating and directing B.C. employment training programs.

“I really have a passion for making sure that people are doing what they want and what they like to raise their families and make a living,” Ratch noted, adding that by the end of 2014, 15 apprenticeship advisors will be appointed across the province. “Of those advisors, at least five (himself included) were targeted to have Aboriginal knowledge just for the sheer fact that quite often the Aboriginal Peoples still have some issues around how to get into systems and how to be supported.”

Ratch will not only focus on ensuring the First Nations population has access to support programs. He noted that he also plans to work with youth and post secondary institutions to ensure the younger generations’ needs are met.

“Now more than ever, British Columbia needs young, talented tradespeople to help keep building B.C., and fill jobs in critical demand across the province,” MLA for Kootenay East Bill Bennett said.

In the Elk Valley, Teck is a strong supporter of the ITA program. In fact, Teck currently sponsors 130 apprentices in the Elk Valley in 11 different trades, including heavy duty mechanics, industrial electricians, millwrights and warehousing.

“Having a strong apprenticeship program helps ensure that we have the skilled tradespeople required for the long term sustainability of our operations,” Nic Milligan, manager of community and aboriginal affairs with Teck Industries said. “Our five mines in the East Kootenay’s employ over 700 skilled tradespeople and half of our trades workforce are 50 years of age or older and moving towards retirement.”

Ratch said he has already met with four of the five mine training coordinators in the Elk Valley.

“There’s nothing but growth as long as there’s need,” Ratch said.