Hiring blitz coming for Victoria Shipyards


New stakeholder group to ensure shipbuilding workforce in place



The phone at Jim Fitzpatrick’s office has been ringing off the hook since word began spreading around the world about Seaspan Marine Corp. winning an $8-billion federal shipbuilding contract.

“People are inquiring about this new construction. They’re calling from eastern Canada. They’re calling from Scotland. They’re calling from Wales,” said Fitzpatrick, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Local 191, which represents about 180 workers at Victoria Shipyards in Esquimalt.

In the coming months, about 400 workers will be hired at the Esquimalt-based shipyard, which already employs about 600. Canadians will be hired first, Fitzpatrick said.

Many more will be hired at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards and Vancouver Drydock to prepare for the construction of Canadian Coast Guard and non-combat Royal Canadian Navy ships over the next 15 to 20 years.

Efforts are underway to prepare for that massive hiring blitz, which Fitzpatrick said should ramp up in January and February.

Premier Christy Clark announced Wednesday (Nov. 2) that a group of key education, union, government and shipbuilding stakeholders, including Seaspan, will begin meeting later this month.

The new B.C. Shipbuilding and Repair Sector Table is part of Clark’s jobs plan.

Table participants will have the job of ensuring there are enough trained workers to support the construction of the ships, which is expected to create and sustain 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in B.C.

The premier touted the long-term jobs that – thanks to the federal government’s $33-billion shipbuilding contracts – lie ahead for workers in the industry. 

The $8-billion contract “begins to build a shipbuilding industry,” Clark told workers at the Victoria Shipyards on Wednesday. “It creates that platform so that not just this generation in this room can look forward to years of work, but their kids can.”

To Fitzpatrick, new construction offers the promise of long-term work.

In the past six years, employment for shipbuilding tradespeople has been “topsy-turvy” since lucrative long-term contracts were few and far between, he said.

“Once you get new construction, there’s stability,” said Fitzpatrick. “This announcement is tremendous for young families here.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Thousands show for 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria

New records, first-time runners, and stories of resilience

Mother of alleged hit-and-run victim hopes municipalities will work together to improve crosswalk

Young woman injured, dog killed when struck by driver on marked crosswalk at Foul Bay Road

Here comes the rain: Victoria can expect post Thanksgiving showers all week

Mild, rainy weather expected from Tuesday to Saturday

Opponents of Elizabeth May criticize her push to scrap temporary foreign worker program

May has proposed to scrap the federal program which supplies local business with temporary workers

Victoria woman uses loss to raise awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

City of Victoria to recognize Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day Oct. 15

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read