FTI Returns to the Delta Schools Trade Fair

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On May 30, 2018 the FTI returned to the Delta Schools Trades Fair for another successful exhibition of what an apprenticeship at the Finishing Trades looks like.

Literally thousands of students, teachers and high school councillors took this opportunity to explore the benefits and satisfaction that comes with a career earned through a Red Seal apprenticeship delivered by the FTI of BC. The feedback from our participation at this event has been all positive. In fact, at a recent meeting of school board representatives south of the Fraser river,  there were comments made that the FTI had the best display at the show.

We tried to be as interactive with the students as possible in showing them some of the tools, equipment and materials we use in the four trades we teach, through a couple of hands on activities.  We actually ran the battery dead in our scissor lift by 2:30 in the afternoon due to the high demand by students for a ride. Line-ups occurred throughout the day as students and teachers lined up for an opportunity to take a ride with our Health and Safety Coordinator, Andrew Swan.

At the end of the day the entire enterprise was about raising awareness of the Finishing Trades and to that end all of our representatives who attended the fair agreed it was well worth attending. We definitely intend to return next year.


Supervisor Training Returns to the FTI

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After an absence of a couple of years, the Supervisor Training Program or (STP), made its return to the FTI in Surrey BC, last week .

The reason for this program not being delivered for some time was due to the fact that the original course, although still valuable, needed to go through a comprehensive rewrite due to changes that have occurred in the past few years in the construction industry. The new program was delivered to 20, DC 38 lead hands, foremen, contractors and young journeymen who our contractors had selected as potential foremen. The course was taught over two days and was well received by many in the class saying that it is something we needed to run more regularly.

This very extensive course consisted of 13 modules, covering a wide array of topics. Everything from leadership and mentoring to planning and scheduling, teamwork and communication to understanding costs and labour relations was covered along with many more important subjects. Every individual we spoke to at the end of the class said it was something that should not only be delivered to more journey persons but that aspects of the course should be incorporated into our regular apprenticeship programs.

Bob Swanson, former President of Swanson and Young Painting based out of Minnesota, was the lead instructor for this class. He was ably assisted by Jeff Blyth and Simon Hazelwood both from DC 46 in Ontario. Bob, Jeff and Simon all commented on how impressed they were with the overall caliber of the students in this class and remarked about their willingness to jump into the training with both feet.

It is our intention to run this program much more frequently and also to introduce even more of the programs being developed at the FTI International with regard to leadership.

MP for Surrey Centre Randeep Sarai Tours the FTI

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When Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, Randeep Sarai accompanied fellow MP Ahmed Hussen in his effort to promote a private members Bill seeking community benefits on government funded projects here at the FTI last year, he unfortunately had a prior commitment that prevented him from touring our facility at that time.

A few things have changed since that meeting was held here in our Hazardous Materials training classroom. First, MP Hussen is now the Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. That private members Bill has now been passed into law and MP Sarai managed to make it back to our training centre to see firsthand what it is we do here with regard to apprenticeship and hazardous materials abatement training.

Last week turned out to be a very good time for Mr. Sarai to visit the FTI due to the fact that we had two painting classes, a wall & ceiling installer class, a glazing class, a hazardous materials abatement course and a Supervisor Training program all running at the same time. The FTI was a beehive of activity and the Member of Parliament got to see a great display of the variety of training programs we deliver.

Perhaps the most satisfying moment of the tour was when MP Sarai addressed our Supervisor Training class (STP) and began to speak about the support the Federal Liberal Government has shown towards union training centres across Canada. He also went on to speak about two repressive pieces of legislation brought in by the previous Conservative government that the Liberals tossed out, making union organizing less restrictive. MP Sarai received a rousing and somewhat surprising round of applause from our STP trainees. The ordinarily reserved group of foremen, supervisors and contractors rose to their feet and their applause was sustained and sincere.

We are hoping that we can access some of the $50 million the Federal Liberals are making available later this year to union training facilities. MP Sarai is supportive of our desire to put some of this funding to work purchasing new equipment and technology for our ongoing training. Mr. Sarai’s assistant, Arun Gill,  also spoke to us about a cluster funding initiative aimed toward training that entails an aspect of Virtual Reality training. We are very interested in this initiative as one of our wish list items is a new VR Spray Painting device.

We look forward to hosting more politicians at the FTI who share our enthusiasm for training the best trades people in the country. We are proud of our facility and the work we do here and we are gratified when others share our passion for training like our Member of Parliament Randeep Sarai.

FTI Announces ITA Changes to the Wall & Ceiling Apprenticeship Program

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To all Wall & Ceiling Contractors and Wall & Ceiling Installer Apprentices

Please be advised that we have been asked by the ITA (Industry Training Authority) to inform you of the recent change that has taken place with the Wall & Ceiling Installer apprenticeship program.

Effective September 2018 the apprenticeship schooling component of the training is being moved from the existing 4 Module program to a 3 Level program to bring the training model into line with every other apprenticeship program in the province.

In order to accommodate this change the FTI will be cancelling the previously scheduled Module A/B class scheduled to start May 14, 2018 and running a Module C/D program in its place. This will be the last Module C/D class that will take place prior to switching to the new arrangement.

We recommend that all apprentices who have taken the Module A/B training but have yet to take their Module C/D course, register for this course as it could be problematic if you get caught between the two systems before completing your technical training. We ask all contractors to encourage any of their apprentices in this situation to register for this course.

The requirement for the hours based portion has also been adjusted but it’s the schooling portion of the training that is the only piece that needs to be dealt with immediately.

Old System New System
Module A – 4 Weeks Level 1 – 6 Weeks
Module B – 2 Weeks Level 2 – 6 Weeks
Module C – 4 Weeks Level 3 – 6 Weeks
Module D – 2 Weeks
Hours Worked – 4500 Hours Worked 6000

 All new apprentices will receive in-school instruction under the new system. We will be scheduling a September class to commence the Levels structure of training then. We strongly support this change and feel that both Contractors and apprentices will be better served by this new approach. We encourage everyone to join with us in cooperation so that this new system helps us all develop better skilled, Red Seal Wall & Ceiling Installers.

Steward Baird

Wall & Ceiling Instructor / Coordinator



FTI Wall & Ceiling Apprentices Excel at Skills BC Competition

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Once again the FTI had another successful result at the recent Skills BC Wall & Ceiling competition. Apprentice Kristian Anderson captured a gold medal while apprentices Matt Catonio and Joel Stodola walked away with a silver medal each.

The Judges agreed that this year’s competition was the closest they had seen in the six years that the Wall & Ceiling has been a part of this prestigious display of craft skills. It came down to a half mark in the end between first and second place in a display of expertise that impressed everyone involved. What is even more remarkable, is the fact that in the previous 5 years, no team had entirely completed the assigned project in the time allotted, while this year’s teams all completed the job with time to spare. All this goes to show just what a remarkable performance was turned in by all of the apprentices involved.

The entire FTI Wall and Ceiling class attended as well to cheer on their classmates and to volunteer their time informing some of the over 5000 school aged attendees at the competition about the rewards of an apprenticeship. They also took turns taking some of the kids up in a scissor lift for a birds eye view of the event.

The FTI plans to be back at this competition again next year and in fact we are exploring the opportunity to include our Painters and Glaziers in this event. Congratulations once again to Kristian Anderson, Matt Catonio and Joel Stodola on a job well done.

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 Plural Pump in action, let alone actually get to use one. Because of the cost of the Plural 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.