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Fast-Track Training in Construction: Offsetting Labour Shortage

Fast-Track Construction Training Programs
Fast-Track Construction Training Programs

Fast-Track Training in Construction: Offsetting Labour Shortage

Information and news on the construction sectorFast-Track Training in Construction: Offsetting Labour Shortage

A good idea or stirring up the hornet’s nest? Fast-track training courses in construction trades are reassuring contractors yet worrying unions and the educational arena. Albeit they were implemented too fast and considered too short by both unions and educational entities, they’ve proven to be quite successful.  

One-Time Fast-Track Construction Training: A Legault Government Strategy

47,000—the number of applications submitted as part of the fast-track training programs, renewed by François Legault’s government as a means to tackle the labour shortage facing the construction industry.

The vast majority of training programs started in January 2024, with a duration period between 4 to 6 months. The only hitch: of the 47,000 applicants, solely 4,000 to 5,000 workers will be trained, with a 261 million dollar budget spanning two years. As for the others, provided that their admission file is complete, will be waitlisted.  

Fast-Track Training Program Overview

Said program was largely inspired by what was implemented during the pandemic regarding orderlies, and now four construction industry trades are reaping the benefits of this subsidized fast-track training program. 

The goal behind the construction industry’s Opération main-d’œuvre (workforce operation) is to address the urgent need facing the construction workforce as soon as possible. In fact, in all construction trades, there’s an apparent labour shortage. As such, fast-track training is made available to train, as fast as possible, a qualified workforce. 

The issue with this system rests entirely on qualifications. As we’ll cover later on in the refrigeration technician trade overview, the government is attempting a risky move by educating students in trades that normally require 12 months of training and doing so in 4 to 6 months. Between skills and safety, there’s a lot to worry about on the educational side of things.

More so, this new government policy, which was implemented too fast according to some, created a sort of domino effect. As such, some students in other programs, such as electrician technician training, are now deserting their programs in favour of fast-track training. 

The $750 a week given to students becomes even more appealing, considering that they’re under no obligation to pursue a career in construction afterward. 

How Québec Emploi and Schools Are Contributing to the Process

Québec emploi acts as a facilitator between training schools and businesses actively seeking labourers. The purpose behind such institutions is to better address the needs of the construction industry. 

Schools are training students to adhere to applicable regulations and professional standards, while Québec emploi advertises job opportunities to recent training program graduates.  

The Four Trades Targetted by Fast-Track Training Programs

Carpentry Training

A carpenter is someone who can build the following: 

  • Footing formwork

  • Foundation wall formwork

  • Column, beam, slab, and concrete stairs formwork 

  • Roofs

  • Wall and floor formwork

  • Furniture and finishing details

  • Wooden stairs 

And there’s more to it: carpenters should also be able to install insulation, soundproof a building, and implement active ventilation. 

Carpenters earn a wage of $23.61 per hour (starting out in the residential sector) and $51.81 per hour (journeyperson working nights on pipelines). 

Refrigeration Training

Refrigeration technicians must master HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, meaning:

  • Installation

  • Activation

  • Maintenance

  • Repair 

All the above must be done within the bounds of optimal safety conditions, which worries unions. Unions are concerned that the speed at which training is done isn’t allowing students to properly understand all professional safety rules. 

Once training is completed, refrigeration technicians earn between $21.95 an hour (apprentice) and $49.75 an hour (journeyperson working on pipelines). 

Tinsmithing Training

During those 38 hours a week, tinsmiths are trained to build and repair: 

  • Air conditioning systems

  • Ventilation systems

  • Warm air heating systems

  • All exhaust systems 

Once a member of the workforce, tinsmiths earn an hourly wage between $25 (apprentice) and $41 (journeyperson).

Construction Equipment Operation Training

A heavy machinery operator is a skilled professional who was trained to operate the following: 

  • Excavators

  • Graders

  • Bulldozers (crawlers)

  • Road rollers

  • And others

They’re trained to work on roadway construction sites, tunnels, or buildings to execute the following: 

  • Excavation

  • Loading and unloading hauls

  • Snow removal

  • And more

Heavy machinery operators are hired on all construction worksites. Their hourly wage ranges between $21 and $41.17.    

How to Register for Fast-Track Construction Training 

To register for the next fast-track training sessions, head to Quebec.ca, and click on “Registration” to secure your place amongst the next graduates.

Accelerated Training Prerequisites

Students accepted and actively participating in these training programs are given $750 per week. To the previously mentioned sum, one must subtract certain costs that may vary based on the training program in question. For example, whilst carrying out carpentry training, one must factor in the following costs:

  • $255.25 for books 

  • $300 for work attire 

  • $180 in additional fees

To register for the next training sessions under Opération main-d’œuvre (workforce operation) in the construction industry, you must meet one of the following prerequisites: 

  • Hold a high-school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or a college diploma (or a certificate of equivalency)

  • Have successfully completed secondary four credits (language of instruction, second language, and mathematics) or educational equivalents

  • Hold a GDT (general development test) and science prerequisites 

As well as meeting one of the following two conditions:

  • Not have pursued an education for over 12 months

  • Have pursued vocational training at one point over the last 12 months 

Training establishments have yet to communicate the number of hours a week that have been crammed into these 4- to 6-month training periods, as it must still be determined. But, a training program like that of an AEP Charpentire-menuisier (carpentry) typically lasts 12 months, resulting in 1,350 hours. Yet, the latter must now be completed within a six-month period.

Employment Opportunities Following Fast-Track Training

Job opportunities aren’t what’s lacking. The 4,000 to 5,000 upcoming graduates are likely to find employment in their chosen fields. In popular education centres, such as the CFP du Grand-Fjord, company CEOs themselves are checking and requesting labour. 

At the end of 2023, there were 12,000 job openings. For 2024, the construction industry is estimating requiring more than 200 million work hours.

However, those who weren’t lucky enough to be admitted into the program this year, might not have a second chance as there might not be another session. In any case, the Ministère de l’Éducation (Ministry of Education) is staying mum on the matter that’s still considered a worthwhile path to employment by the construction industry.  


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Last modified 2024-04-04

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