“Alberta's skilled workers are the backbone of our economy and critical to our economic recovery. They build our schools and hospitals, fix our roads, keep our homes warm and our lights on. They do the jobs that are fundamental to every Albertan’s day-to-day lives.

“The first week of November marks Skills Canada’s National Skilled Trade and Technology Week – a chance to celebrate those working in these fields and promote career opportunities in skilled trades and technology across the country.

“Here in Alberta, we share Skills Canada’s vision that these types of careers are not only essential to growing our economy but are compelling and rewarding pursuits. We’ve taken huge steps to increase supports and opportunities in these areas over the last year, largely through the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative.

“Some of these supports are $15 million over three years through a partnership with Mitacs to support more than 3,800 internship opportunities, $6 million for Technology Talent Funding and more than $20 million to increase direct support for apprentices and invest in the organizations that promote apprenticeship. This includes increasing supports for programs such as CAREERS and Women Building Futures, as well as increasing the Apprentice Training Award from $1,000 to $1,500.

“And this past spring, we introduced the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act, which will expand apprenticeship learning to more fields and promote parity of esteem between trades and academic learning when it comes into force next year. We firmly believe that a trades certificate has the same value, merit and worth as a university degree.

“I encourage all Albertans who might be considering a career in the skilled trades or technology fields to explore the many opportunities in these areas, and Skills Canada’s National Skilled Trade and Technology Week is a great place to start.

“And to those already working in these important areas, I and every Albertan thank you for your important contributions.”