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'We need quality people': Alberta welding companies say need for employees is dire

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Alberta welding companies say they’re having trouble bidding on projects because they can’t find enough workers.

“The way the industry has grown these days, everything is high tech you know, they want quality so there’s no shortcut anymore. To do that kind of quality work we need quality people,” Gary Manku of Altex Industries told CTV News Edmonton.

In July, Manku flew to Chile to recruit workers. He plans to do another recruiting trip in India in the new year.

He has two new workers starting on Monday from South Korea, and 11 more coming from Chile in January, but he says it’s not enough.

“Altogether I’m looking for 13 guys over the next couple of months,” he said.

Manku wants to see more students enrolling in welding programs in Alberta.

“I think our biggest problem is kids these days, they want white collar jobs.”

The province says it’s working toward filling that gap.

“We are committed to supporting industry to fill any labour gaps by working with the post secondary institutes to closely track enrollment levels and increasing seat numbers when necessary to meet regional demands,” said Kacy Madu, minister of skilled trades and professions in a written statement.

“We have recently seen an increased demand for welders, and are actively working with our post-secondary partners to train more apprentices in this field.”

Madu also said the government has invested more than $145 million in apprenticeship education in Alberta over the last three and a half years.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Marek Tkach. 

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