Join us on Thursday, February 22, for a presentation and panel discussion addressing BC's skilled trades shortage. The BC Construction Roundtable hosts industry leaders, including Bill Ferreira from BuildForce Canada, who will assess the current labour crunch; Tamara Pongracz, Department Head at BC Institute of Technology, who will discuss BC's apprenticeship pipeline; and Scott Adkins, who will offer the contractor perspective. Brenda Ireland from BC Infrastructure Benefits will moderate the panel discussion. Gain valuable insights and shape the future of skilled trades in BC.
About the speakers:
Bill Ferreira is the Executive Director at BuildForce Canada. Bill previously worked as Vice-President of Government Relations and Public Affairs at the Canadian Construction Association. Bill has also served as a Senior Policy Advisor in various portfolios at the Federal Government, including Citizenship and Immigration, Environment Canada and International Trade. Following government, Bill joined a government relations firm in Ottawa, focusing his expertise on the energy, transportation and telecommunications sectors. Bill also played a pivotal role as Director of Government Affairs at the Forest Products Association of Canada.
Tamara Pongracz (she/her) is the Department Head of the BCIT Trades Access group. An advocate of Trades and Apprenticeship Training, Tamara is an Inter-Provincial Certified Plumber (RSE - 1995) with a Master of Education Degree (2010) from Simon Fraser University. In 2001, with the backing of the Development Company Concert Properties, Tamara expanded trade exploration opportunities and introduced Trades Discovery. The programs have helped hundreds of folks find their trade career match. The Vancouver Regional Construction Association recognized her as Outstanding Woman in Construction in 2007. Tamara recently joined the Construction Foundation of BC’s Board of Directors.
Scott Adkins is a professional engineer who has worked in the industry for over 27 years in Western Canada and the Northwest US within the heavy civil, commercial and institutional sectors. He has been with PCL since 2005, having spent most of his tenure in their BC office. He is their Operations Manager, overseeing all construction activities across BC and the Yukon. Actively involved in corporate committees, including employee growth and development, pension investment, recruitment, and, most recently, PCL's Canadian DEI council, he is excited to leverage these experiences in serving the local construction industry and on the Board of Directors for the VRCA. In his role at the VRCA, he hopes to build on their past success while defining and achieving new outcomes towards sustainable economic growth for member companies and local businesses that provide livelihoods for thousands of families across the lower mainland.
Brenda Ireland is the Executive Director of Indigenous Relations and Respectful Onsite Initiative for BC Infrastructure Benefits. She has been an anti-racism practitioner for over twenty years, a storyteller who focuses on sharing the history of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and newcomers as a truth-telling experience essential for reconciliation. She has a master’s degree in history from UBC, established the First Nations Programs and Services department at BCIT, and worked in the research department for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
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