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Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification gets Technical Support from The FTI of BC

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Recently, 42 representatives from across the North American glazing industry met in Hanover Maryland, to develop written and practical exams for the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification (AGMT). Mark Longmore, Head glazing Instructor and Coordinator for the FTI was invited along with Paddy Byrne, Director of Training for the FTI, who is also a glazier by trade, to lend their expertise and be part of this historic undertaking.

Driven by numerous recent glazing failures on some extremely large commercial projects throughout Canada and the United States, industry got together to figure out how to best to address this multi million dollar problem. In the end it was decided by all those connected to the industry such as glazing contractors, caulking suppliers, aluminium extrusion manufacturers, fabrication companies, architects, engineers, spec writers, insulated glass suppliers and especially the insurance underwriting community, that the glazing industry needed a major overhaul.

The overhaul started with a new certification process for glazing contractors which has already been developed by, Administrative Management Systems Inc. (AMS), a recognized leader in product compliance testing and certification in the glass industry, headquartered in New York state. This program is currently being implemented in several major cities in the United States and Canada. However, once that part of the concern was addressed, it was decided that there needed to be a program developed across North America to address the skills of the workers who install these highly complex glazing facades. Administrative Management Services Inc. has also been selected to develop the AGMT certification.

In Canada we have the Red Seal which is recognized across our country as the standard in the industry for trade worker certification. However, the Red Seal is a written exam with no hands on component to the test. This is where the AGMT certification hopes to establish itself as the gold standard in the industry. In addition to a 125 question written exam, there will be a practical component involving curtainwall, storefront and door installation along with a caulking and tooling mock-up. Not only will AGMT certified glaziers be tested on knowledge of their trade but they will also have to demonstrate their competency with the hands on skills connected to the trade.

Beta testing is expected to begin sometime in the fall and there has been a target set of 100 glaziers to go through the testing protocol before the end of the year as part of the ANSI accreditation process.

Please check out the video below which gives a  good overview of what this program will look like and why the industry is so excited about it.


FTI’s Women in Trades Give Thumbs Up to New Lighter Protective Equipment.

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Level 2 Apprentice Crystal Rose Shows Off her Blasting Technique

Our most Recent Level 1 and 2 Painting classes gave an opportunity to some of our female apprentices, to try out the new spray and blast equipment here at the FTI. By all accounts the new protective hoods and blast/spray outfits performed well, and were much more comfortable and lightweight than the previous generation of protective equipment. Blasting and spraying is hard physical work, so anything that can be done to keep our apprentices as comfortable as possible while they work is always appreciated. The ability to control the temperature of the supplied breathing air also helps with comfort levels.

As we look to expand our pool of apprentices, one of the areas we here at the FTI are trying to take into account, is how we attract more women to our trades. While we have traditionally had reasonably good numbers of women in the painting trade, the Industrial side of the business tended to be a more male oriented workforce. Changes in equipment such as the new generation of protective equipment being used at our facility will help make our industries more appealing to those women who felt the physical challenges of Industrial painting were too demanding.

Our Wall and Ceiling program in both the steel stud and drywall finishing aspects of that industry is just now starting to attracting women. We currently have female apprentices who are working for our contractors at various levels of apprenticeship in these trades. The one trade where we continue to struggle to attract women is our Glazing trade. We believe that this is due in large part to the fact that it can be a very heavy trade given the move to larger lites of glass being demanded by architects and designers.

However, changes are occurring in this trade thanks to the introduction of automated glazing manipulators. Much of the heavy lifting is now being carried out by these incredible machines, taking away the overly physical aspect of the work involved. The FTI is looking at purchasing a glazing manipulator in the near future, to add to our increasing inventory of new age equipment. We hope that women will start looking at the glazing trade as a more attractive career choice.

The Finishing Trades are great trades that can provide individuals of all genders and backgrounds with the opportunity to learn and earn throughout their working lives. The FTI is doing our part to increase awareness that our trades truly are for everyone.

Syrian Apprentices Continue to Update Their Training at the FTI

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Last year, we introduced you to a group of individuals, who were hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families through an apprenticeship in our union. We are happy to report that these new Canadians are well on their way toward making that hope a reality.

After having spent many hours working in the field through the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, it was time for our Syrian apprentices to return to the FTI. Although their initial seven day introduction to safety and basic paint and prep skills has served them well, it was now necessary to introduce them to our state of the art, blast and spray equipment, and allow them to develop the skills necessary to to take them to the next level.

What has been so remarkable in watching this group is how quickly they pick up on what is being taught to them, even with the language barriers they face. Industrial painting instructor and representative, Justin Chapman, remarked, “It was almost like looking at myself as I watched one of the individuals sand blasting a CAS panel. Because of the language issue, these individuals seem to have developed heightened observational skills which is helping them learn these new processes at a much faster rate than I anticipated.”

Another thing that came quickly to these students was their ability to communicate through the use of standard operating hand signals used in sand blasting. Justin commented on the abilities of the crew to work as a single unit through the use of these hand signals.

Thankfully we have also had a lot of help with translation through the assistance of our Arabic translator, Manal Nour. Manal has proved to be an invaluable resource for us, translating those pieces of information that need to be spoken rather than demonstrated. Manal even went so far as to translate our confined space entry instruction manual into Arabic on her own time. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the BC Alliance for Manufacturing, for supplying Manal and her skills to assist us in this endeavour.

Within the next couple of weeks we plan to have these apprentices back to take their forklift training here at the FTI. Every new piece of training and every new certificate that they can achieve only helps these individuals make themselves more valuable to our contractors as they become more employable.

The big test for our Syrian apprentices will be when they return to school for the first level of the Painter Decorator Red Seal apprenticeship technical training. By then we hope that their English language skills will have improved to the point where they will no longer need the assistance of a translator. Language is the only thing holding them back at this time. Once that is no longer an obstacle, the sky is the limit for these members of our union.

Level 3 Apprentices Take on New Industrial Training Facility

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After Several months of waiting for all of our equipment and facilities to pass final inspection, the Finishing Trades Institute of BC finally got to let our Level 3 apprentices train on the latest Industrial Painting equipment in the industry. Although the permitting and approval process seemed to go on for ever, the consensus from our Level 3 apprentices was that the wait was well worth it.

Many of these apprentices hadn’t even seen a Pleural Pump in action, let alone actually get to use one. Because of the cost of the Pleural Component Pump and the special skills required to operate this highly specialized piece equipment, apprentices are rarely, if ever, afforded the opportunity to operate one. Requiring three people to operate, this specialized spray device requires all parties operating as one in perfect synchronization.

After receiving expert instruction in one of the most up-to-date facilities in all of North America, all of our apprentices started to develop the necessary skills required in order to become proficient in the proper use, care and maintenance of this highly technical machine.

Given the lessons learned by our instructors in running this first group through training, we are even better prepared to introduce our facility and equipment to the next set of apprentices or Journeymen looking to incorporate this type of training into their resume. These individuals will be highly sought after as more and more contractors start to include Pleural Component Spray Pumps into their arsenal of equipment in an effort to secure even more work for our members.


Squamish Nation Training and Trades Centre Explores Training Partnership with FTI of BC

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Three weeks ago, the FTI began running an introductory Wall & Ceiling program for students from the Squamish Nation Training and Training Centre. Thanks to the assistance of Peter Baker, Development & Partnership Employment Negotiator for the Squamish Nation and the rest of his team from the Centre, we have had a good cohort of students participate in this training with some very positive feedback.

When Peter Baker was here last week to meet with Advanced Education, Skills and Training, Minister Melanie Mark, Peter had a chance to observe our Level 2 Glazing Apprenticeship class in action. Peter was so impressed with what he saw that he asked us if it would be possible to run an entry level Glazing program, similar to what we were delivering with our Wall & Ceiling course.

Within a relatively short period of time we put a proposal forward that incorporates many aspects of our Level 1 Red Seal Apprentice Glazier training that we currently run at our facility. When we discussed this idea with our Glazing Coordinator and Head Instructor, Mark Longmore, we felt that there was enough variety in this Level that could be delivered in a condensed four week course and still give students a pretty good representation of what the trade is about.

We see these types of introductory programs as very beneficial in introducing the basics of the trade along with developing a foundation in certain transferable skills. We also feel the best way to decide if a trade is for you, is to immerse yourself in the work that is typically performed in that particular craft. Even if you decide to head down a different career path, the time spent in these programs can provide you with a good jumping off point into a similar field.

Although we have not as yet received the go ahead for this proposal, we are confident that the outline we have provided will be seen as something that has good value and would be beneficial to any student who is interested in becoming a Glazier.  We will continue to work with our friends from the Squamish Nation looking for new innovative avenues into the Finishing Trades for young people from Indigenous communities around our Province.

Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Visits the FTI of BC

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Last week the Finishing Trades Institute of BC had the privilege of hosting, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, Melanie Mark, as she and some of her support staff toured our facility. Minister Mark also happens to be the first ever woman elected to the BC Provincial Government from a First nations Background.

This is worthy of note due to the fact that the FTI of BC has recently entered into a partnership with the Squamish Nation Trades Training Facility to deliver a foundation program in the Wall and Ceiling trades and First nation students enrolled in this program were in class on the day of the tour. Minister Mark was able to meet with these students and get their feedback as to their experience at our school, which we are happy to report, was very positive.

The Minister admitted that her background isn’t in construction and that the learning curve for her will be steep, which is why she wanted to see for herself some of what goes into our apprenticeship training programs. However, after her tour and subsequent meeting with other Building Trades Coordinators she at least had a starting point from where she could start that learning curve from.

We have every confidence that the Minister will be a quick learner and given her passion and genuine interest in what we at the Finishing Trades do, we are confident that she will be using the FTI and all of the Building Trades as a valuable resource in her endeavour to assist us in developing superior trades people.

Minister, Melanie Mark, centre, poses with students from the Squamish First Nation at the FTI of BC.

Glazing Instructor, Mark Longmore addresses guests of the FTI of BC

DC 38 Raises Funds for Research into Juvenile Diabetes

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Business Manager Dave Holmes A.K.A. Wayne Campbell and DOT Paddy Byrne A.K.A. Garth Algar


At the recent CLRA golf tournament, Business Manager, Dave Holmes, and Director of Training, Paddy Byrne, assumed their alter-identities as Garth Algar and Wayne Campbell from, Wayne’s World, in order to raise funds for research into Juvenile Diabetes at UBC.

On a hot and sunny day which was perfect for golf, but less so to suit up in pads for hockey, Dave and Paddy asked golfers to take a turn matching their hockey skills against the formidable goal tending of Garth Algar.  Each golfer, for the cost of $10.00, had three chances to beat Garth and be entered into a Draw for a Brand New iPhone and Apple Watch. There was also a last place prize, dinner with Paddy and Dave!

At the end of the day $1,400.00 was raised, and apart from the numerous welts from hockey balls, (Garth wasn’t wearing upper body pads because of the heat) everyone seemed to enjoy the antics of our hockey playing heroes. Only 3 of the approximately 140 golfers were able to put all 3 of their shots behind Garth and he has the bruises to prove it.

Thanks to everyone at CLR for putting on a great tournament and special thanks to the Vancouver Golf Club for allowing us to put on this event at such a pristine golf course.


NABOC Osoyoos 2017

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Ray Natraoro makes pitch to NABOC on behalf of Stalkaya Environmental


At the recent NABOC Conference held June 27 to 29th in Osoyoos, our newest Hazardous Materials Abatement Contractor, Stalkaya Environmental, made its latest pitch to First Nations business representatives with regard to it’s services as a Hazardous Materials Contractor, and as a conduit to opportunities for apprenticeship for Aboriginal workers through DC 38 and the FTI of BC.

NABOC or the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference, meets around the province of British Columbia in various communities in an effort to highlight and promote Aboriginal Business and opportunities for the public at large to become more aware of the great work being done by business people from First Nations communities.

Stayalka Environmental is a joint venture arrangement where Enviro-Vac Environmental has entered into a partnership with majority shareholder Ray Natraoro, who is from the Squamish First Nation. Ray was able to make a pitch, on behalf of Stalkaya, to over 200 business representatives from the Aboriginal community as well as others from a wide variety of backgrounds from all across Canada. Ray made the case that young people working for his company not only had the opportunity to make a good living with union wages and benefites as Hazmat Workers, but also had opportunities through Stalkaya’s partnership with our union, to receive Red Seal apprenticeship training in one of our 4 finishing trades, if they chose to go that route.

There were several impressive presentations made at the NABOC and Stalkaya’s story, as told by Ray, resonated as impressively as those who had already been in business for years. This was a great opportunity to network and bee seen and Stalkaya made a great first impression at the Conference.

Delegates to NABOC Osoyoos 2017 listen to a presentation from Stalkaya Environmental

Representatives from the Squamish First Nation Tour the FTI

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This week, the Finishing Trades Institute of BC, welcomed representatives from the Squamish First Nation, looking at ways our two organizations can work closer together. Amongst those in attendance were Peter Baker, who heads up the Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre, as well as Ray Natraoro, President and Director of Business Development for Stalkaya Environmental, one our newest hazardous materials abatement contractors.

In addition to being the majority partner in Stalkaya Environmental, Ray is also one of the hereditary chiefs of the Squamish Nation, where he is known as Ses Siyam.  Stalkaya is the first majority owned First Nations environmental company in the province, which is a great achievement.

Our partnership with Stalkaya and their partner company, Enviro-Vac environmental, was a major driver in having the FTI look at ways to partner with the Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre. However, we have also been working with one of our signatory painting contractors, Done Right Painting, and the owner, Troy Halverson, in developing an introductory painting course that Troy is helping to deliver at the  Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre.

FTI painting instructor and coordinator, Chico Albino, assisted Troy with the development of course materials for this pilot program and according to the feedback we are getting, it has been well received. Director of Training, Paddy Byrne, visited the Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre the previous week and remarked on how impressed he was with the quality of the Squamish facility and with what they had been able to accomplish within their current space. There are plans for an expansion of the facility in the works.

FTI Director of Training, Paddy Byrne and Peter Baker of the Squamish Nation Trades Training Centre, both see the possibility of our two facilities creating a path where First Nations people from across the Lower mainland, could successfully enter one of the Finishing Trades and achieve Red Seal status in their chosen craft. This would also be very beneficial to those contractors signatory to District Council 38 as we are constantly looking for energetic young people eager to make a good living and provide a better life for their families. This could truly be the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership where all parties need are met.


Building Trades Attend the Canadian Legislative Conference

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The week of May 14 was an important one for Unionized construction workers from across Canada, as the Legislative Conference of the Canadian Building Trades was back in Ottawa for our annual opportunity to lobby on behalf of our members. Meetings were held with representatives from the New Democratic, Conservative and the governing Liberal Parties, in an effort to advance the interests of Union Trades workers from all of the construction crafts.

However, probably the most significant piece of business that was conducted during this conference was the unveiling of a brand new Monument on Parliament Hill. This monument is dedicated solely to Union construction Trades workers, in recognition of our all of our contributions to the growth of our communities, not just as builders of buildings and infrastructure, but as an integral part of the fabric of Canada itself.

We were especially pleased to have the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, on hand to help with the official opening of the monument. The Prime Minister spoke at length about the value the 500,000 members of the Canadian Building Trades bring to the lives of all Canadians. It was refreshing to hear our Prime Minister speak without hesitation about his respect for Union construction workers and the integrity of the apprenticeship programs that we oversee.

To give you a sense of just how important this occasion was, most of the General Presidents of the major North American Building Trades Unions also attended this event. The monument is the first in all of North America dedicated specifically to Union Building Trades and the General Presidents wanted to be in attendance on such a momentous occasion.