Syrian refugees join BC's skilled workforce - roofing community steps up with training and jobs

LANGLEY, BC, Feb. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - In a real-life example of Canadian support for the world's refugees, a collaboration between the Roofing Contractors Association of BC (RCABC) and Parker Johnston Industries demonstrates that in BC's construction community, New Canadians are not only welcome but valued.

In January, 14 refugees who recently arrived in Victoria gained the training, tools, and credentials in Construction Safety and Metal Roofing that they needed for jobs as Architectural Sheet Metal Apprentices at Parker Johnston, one of BC's largest roofing contractors.

"The availability of skilled roofers is limited, and workers with the right qualifications are highly valued," advises Dave Coleman, Director of Education & Training with RCABC. "Our Members need to look beyond traditional sources for employees, and RCABC is here to help them do that."

A BuildForce Canada Report released January 2017 shows unemployment in BC's trades remains at historically low levels, and predicts finding new skilled workers will be a challenge. Non-residential employment in the province is anticipated to rise by 16,800 jobs through 2021; the strongest period of growth in the last decade.

"We're a family business at heart, and we know that it's our people that make us great" says Rod Parker, Owner and Manager of Victoria's Parker Johnston Industries. "I'm an employer, but I'm also a Red Seal Roofer and Gold Seal Project Manager; I know the value of the right skills training.  Setting these refugees on the road to a successful new life in BC is the right move for my business.  Getting these employees with relevant basic training is key to their success."

The job placements are a result of a collaborative effort between the Roofing Contractors Association of BC and the Vancouver Island Refugee Center Society, with funding from the BC government's Syrian Refugee Readiness Fund through the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training.

"We're actively looking to repeat this experience and are very interested in talking to potential partners in the immigrant support community," further advised Dave. "Several other roofing companies have already contacted me to ask how they can get involved, and we'd like to build that momentum."

"I am ready to work. I am grateful, and I am proud to hold these tools in my hand." Says Mohammed Abujafar, a recently arrived refugee.  "Thank you, Canada".

RCABC was established in 1958 with a mission to bring together professional roofing contractors, manufacturers and suppliers who are dedicated to the promotion and protection of the public interest in everything that relates to roofing.  Providing RCABC members with training, technical support and leadership has enabled RCABC members to offer their customers the highest quality roofing practices, Roofstar Guarantee and business ethics in the roofing industry.  For more information, visit;

SOURCE Roofing Contractors Association of British Columbia

For further information: Dave Coleman, Director of Education & Training, (604) 882-3434,


Organization Profile

Roofing Contractors Association of British Columbia

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890