British Columbia is facing a severe shortage of skilled tradespeople, so much so that BCConstruction Association is returning to Ireland this month to hire 600 people.

The Canadian Press reported that even if one-in-five students graduating from high school in BCduring the next three years were to pursue a trade, there still wouldn't be enough workers to fill shortages in the province's construction industry. Although not everyone agrees with recruitment project, the coming decade will most likely bring a shortage, as the liquefied natural-gas industry, hydroelectric projects and oil and gas pipelines are built.

The provincial government's own statistics indicate there will be more than one-million job openings over the next decade, and more than 153,000 of those will be among trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations. Retirements will be responsible for two-thirds of the vacancies, and new economic growth will be behind the remaining third, states the British Columbia Labour Market Outlook 2010-2020. In the BCconstruction industry, about 30,500 jobs were expected to go unfilled by 2012, according to the association's own statistics.

To address some of the problem, the association is organizing and hosting the Western Canada Construction Job Expo Oct. 31 in Belfast and Nov. 2 in Dublin, where it will represent about 30 employers, half of them from BC....(