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Expanded piping trades program now offered in Salmon Arm
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College has enhanced its pre-apprenticeship program for plumbing to expand employment options and meet the rising demand for pipefitters in northern B.C. and Alberta.

The new 24-week Plumbing and Piping Trades Certificate program starts August 6, and for the first time is being offered through the Salmon Arm Trades Training Centre.

A program information night will be held at the College’s Trades and Apprenticeship Training Centre in the Salmon Arm Industrial Park at 5450 48th Ave. South East on Wednesday, May 15 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Students who complete the program will receive apprenticeship level one technical training credit towards an apprenticeship in the four following piping trades: gasfitter, sprinkler system installer, steamfitter/pipefitter, and plumber.

“These four trades share a common core curriculum,” said Mechanical Building Trades Chair Greg Wirachowsky. “By combining them, students will spend a little more time training, but they’re going to be able to graduate with four possible career paths rather than just one. This gives them much more opportunity for employment in the piping trades. We know demand for steamfitters and pipefitters in the north is going through the roof, with some piping tradespeople making over $500 per day.”

Wirachowsky said there is also a high demand for gasfitters in the north, and elsewhere in the province. Once on the job, gasfitter certification takes only two years of apprenticeship experience and training. A recent job posting for an experienced gasfitter in Burnaby posted a wage rate of $45 per hour.

In the Lower Mainland, with its higher rate of commercial and industrial construction, the demand is on for sprinkler system installers, and experienced plumbers can work throughout the province, earning an average of $54,000 to $71,000.

“Baby Boomer retirement coupled with the explosion of work in the north has created a huge demand for trades people,” Wirachowsky said. “The timing couldn’t be better to cash in on these opportunities. Adding the three extra piping trades gives our students much more opportunity and four possible trades to choose from.”

Tuition funding for the Plumbing and Piping Trades Certificate may be available for applicants who meet the eligibility criteria through the Labour Market Agreement training delivery program. Students in Grade 11 and 12 may receive tuition funding and dual credit towards graduation.

Prospective students are encouraged to attend the information night and register quickly for the August 6 intake as space is limited. For more information about the Plumbing and Piping Trades Certificate, contact Program Administrator Rob Kjarsgaard at 250-832-2126, ext. 2808.