Construction industry leaders say mentorship program can prevent skills drain

OTTAWA – Though close to 200,000 construction workers are expected to retire between 2010 and 2018, the industry is taking steps to make sure their skills and knowledge stay at the jobsite.

A national mentoring program, developed by the Construction Sector Council (CSC), and piloted in Saskatchewan last fall, is being lauded by construction industry leaders as the right tool for closing the skills gap that could result from an exodus of experienced, older workers.

“The question we had to address is how will the industry train the next generation?” says CSC Executive Director George Gritziotis. “And since 80% of training takes place on the job, an effective mentoring program will go a long way toward achieving that goal.

“When it comes to construction, nothing can replace on-the-job experience,” adds Paul McLellan, the head of Saskatchewan’s apprenticeship commission. “The mentorship program allows for the transfer of skills, in a systemic way, from one generation of workers to the next. It is relevant to the needs of today’s construction workforce, and easy to put into practice in the workplace.”

McLellan, the CEO of Alliance Energy, says “the benefit of the program is the connection formed between the individuals involved. As with any teacher/student relationship, if properly done, this bond will last forever and provide knowledge transfer through generations.”

The Manitoba Building and Construction Trades Council has been sharing the learner’s handbook, modules, mentor’s handbook and other materials with all sectors of the industry. “The feedback from contractors, workers – everyone really – has been totally positive,” says Executive Director David Martin. “The program can harness valuable skills and knowledge – it’s the right solution at the right time for the construction industry.”

The mentorship program will be rolled out to key stakeholders in the Canadian construction industry over the next few weeks. For details on this and other CSC initiatives, visit the CSC website at

The Construction Sector Council (CSC) is a partnership between government, business and labour that works to find solutions to human resource issues affecting the construction workforce.

For more information, contact:
Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
Tel.: 905-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program.