BCT Structures Inc. custom designs and manufactures a wide range of modular buildings including: workforce housing, office complexes, schools, lavatories, multi-story buildings, affordable housing, and kitchen facilities. The company is located in Lethbridge, Alberta and is a division of Clean Harbors Energy and Industrial.
The plumber’s training program was designed to compensate for manpower limitations in the local Lethbridge labourforce as well as to address existing skills gaps in the company’s workforce. Because Lethbridge is a smaller community located some 200 kilometers from Calgary, there are often shortages of qualified tradesmen such as plumbers, electricians, etc. For BCT, these labour shortages can have a substantial impact on productivity during busy periods. The goal of the training was to expand the skill set of several designated production workers to include plumbing skills in order to increase overall workforce production effectiveness and flexibility. It was expected that this initiative would be a win-win for employees as well as the organization. Since BCT has skill-based competency pay, the more expertise an employee gains, the more he/she is paid.
The training program was created in partnership with Lethbridge College. Ten employees took the program, which was conducted over a 4-week period starting in early January 2015. Sessions of approximately 3 hours were scheduled twice a week, after work hours. Total training time was 25 hours.
The program consisted of approximately 30% theory and 70% hands-on practice. The theory was presented early in the program and consisted of three main areas: Applied Mathematics (perimeters, areas, volumes, capacities); Percentages and Grades; and Interpretation of Blueprint Packages. The hands-on material included: Hand and Power Tools; Copper Tube, Tubing and Fittings; Plastic Pipe and Fittings; and Iron Pipe and Fittings.