Shane Mosley - STEP Employer Sawchuk Developments

Q&A | STEP Employer Sawchuk Developments

Sawchuk Developments Co. Ltd. has been providing general contracting services throughout the Okanagan Valley and BC Interior since 1981. We stopped by one of their sites on the UBCO Kelowna campus in the Mountain Weather Office to chat with Shane Mosley, Sawchuk’s Manager of Human Resources after he hired Jamie Dickinson, a carpenter and STEP participant. Here’s what he had to say about working with STEP.

Why did you reach out to STEP?

SM: “This year with the shortage of tradespeople, we reached out to STEP and met with STEP REPS Sharon. Sharon was great. She interviewed me and wanted to know what our needs were. Sharon shared with me the opportunities she was getting of workers coming in through her. I told her anything you get, we’ll look at. We had our first experience with Jamie, who is a carpenter, and we went from there.”

What was your initial reaction to STEP’s services?

SM: “The resumes are really well done. They’re set up in a way that’s very familiar for the construction industry to highlight the technical skills of the individual. STEP is an important resource because they’re helping us with the pre-screening and so on, getting us good candidates and good resumes for me to look at.”

How were you introduced to STEP?

SM: “I’ve been familiar with STEP for six years because I was on the Board of Directors for the Southern Interior Construction Association. With my involvement there, we’d always hear about the BCCA and about STEP, so we were familiar with it.”

How has the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) helped your company?

SM: “Well certainly our team is important. We have 66 guys working in the field right now. Many of them are skilled tradesmen, journeymen carpenters, which Jamie is as well. That was important to us. The skill level he brings is important to us in the finishing end which is what we’re doing in this job where he’s working.

The skill levels coming through STEP are very important to us. We want the higher end people, but we’re also a supporter of the apprenticeship program with ITA. We have 12 apprentices right now and we recognize we’re not going to get all journeypersons coming to us. The process all together, integrated together, works well with STEP and where we’re at in our organization right now.”

Would you recommend STEP to others?

SM: “Although they’re competitors in our industry, of course I would recommend STEP to them. STEP is smooth. They gave us a good candidate. I think it’s a good opportunity to get some skills into the organization.

We look forward to working with STEP in the future. Any time we can work with them and they can help us, they’re an important resource.”

STEP Employer Shane Mosley, Human Resources Manager with Sawchuk Developments, in Kelowna, BC.

STEP Stories | Working with Sawchuk Developments & Carpenter Jamie:


Q&A | STEP Employer Keldon Electric

Q&A | STEP Employer IGN Systems

Birk Keldon - STEP Employer Keldon Electric

Q&A | STEP Employer Keldon Electric

With offices in Kelowna and Penticton, Keldon Electric Ltd. has proudly served the Okanagan Valley and all of British Columbia for over 30 years. We stopped by the Kelowna office to ask Birk Hoehn, Keldon’s Human Resources Manager, about his experience with STEP.

What does the apprenticeship mean to you as an employer?

BH: “A trade is a life skill. Once you have that ticket, once you’ve been hired and you’re an apprentice and registered with the ITA, it’s all tracked – your hours, your school. Then in our trade, as an electrician, you do your 6000 hours, four levels of school, write your final and come out with your trade qualification. The world is yours.

Right now, Keldon Electric has 44 apprentices registered with the ITA between the two branches, Kelowna and Penticton. That’s in various stages, between pre-app or newbies who are just starting to fourth year and brand-new journeypersons. This last school session, there was a person that did their fourth year and wrote the IP and they came out as a journeyman. It’s like a ticket to life!

It’s such a successful, satisfying feeling to have a worker come in, new and fresh, and see the development and maturity that they have within the trade. Then with the steady employment, and they set up a family, house and home, it’s really a success and development.”

What was your first reaction to STEP’s services?

BH: “Initially I didn’t understand exactly what STEP was or how I could use them in my workplace. What is the catch? What do I have to do? Turns out they’re doing all the work, they’re just making it easy for me.”

How has the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) helped your company?

BH: “It can be a two-way system. Sometimes if there’s an applicant that STEP is working with, they’ll send me an email with a resume to give me a head’s up that this person is available. A lot of times, I will take that information and save it. Mostly, I’m reaching out saying, ‘Okay, I’ve got a job and it’s here. I’m looking for some new, young workers or I’m flipping someone out into an entry level position.

As apprentices go through the program, I have to keep feeding new young ones into work. So that’s where I reach out to STEP and they provide me some resumes and a little bit of background. We have some discussion, a couple of emails, then I take it from there and set up the interviews to go forward for hiring.”

How long has Keldon Electric been working with STEP?

BH: “With STEP, we’ve been working together for over a decade. It’s grown. Our working relationship has developed over that period of time. I’ve had some really good success with their program and some of the workers they’ve brought forward. It’s a great filter they provide.”

Would you recommend STEP to others?

BH: “I’ve really learned to appreciate STEP as they have streamlined the whole process for me. I don’t always have time to go out and meet and greet individuals as they come around with resumes, so the STEP filter is wonderful.

Then I work with them for certain individuals. STEP REPS carry forward after the applicant gets employment. Some of the ones working with us now, REPS will follow up to see how it’s going. The REPS see if there are any problems, concerns or issues to make sure they’re running through okay.

It is a great program. STEP does a wonderful job – absolutely. I would recommend STEP to any employer or any applicant.”

STEP Employer Birk Hoehn, Keldon Electric’s Human Resources Manager, at the Keldon Electric Kelowna office.

STEP Stories | Working with Keldon Electric & Apprentice Electricians Josh & Brett:


Q&A | STEP Employer Shamus Jones Construction
Q&A | STEP Employer IGN Systems

STEP Employer IGN Systems

Q&A | STEP Employer IGN Systems

Based out of Mission, British Columbia, STEP employer IGN Systems has been engineering aluminum railing systems for over 10 years. IGN Systems owner Max Iquatiuk welcomed us into his shop to chat with him and STEP participant/IGN Systems welder, Crystine.

How would you describe IGN Systems as an employer?

MI: “It’s a small company. We’re all like a family here. Everybody knows what they’re doing and everybody is pursuing the same goal. Everybody is up to the task.”

How has the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) helped IGN Systems?

MI: “I’d say [STEP] provides of a higher level of labour. Their participants are more prepared and know what to expect. We know what to expect from them. They can blend right in, you don’t have to micro-manage and they’re ready to go.”

How long has IGN Systems been working with STEP?

“We were introduced to the STEP program about five to six years ago and since then it has been a great experience. They provide very good candidates who fit right into the job place and it requires minimal training and minimal check-ins to get them to blend in and start working.”

Would you recommend STEP to other employers?

MI: “Yes – as I mentioned before, STEP provides reassurance that you’ll have the best trades you can get in the market.”

STEP employer Max Iquatiuk with employee and welder Crystine

(Left to right) STEP employer & IGN Systems owner, Max Iquatiuk with STEP participant & IGN Systems welder, Crystine.

Q&A | STEP Employer Shamus Jones Construction
Welder – Crystine Czerwinski

STEP Employer Shamus Jones Construction

Q&A | STEP Employer Shamus Jones Construction

We met Shamus from Shamus Jones Construction on a site in Ladner, British Columbia to learn more about him, his company, and his long-standing partnership with The Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP). With 25 carpenters and 30 sub-trades on the team, Shamus is working to give his employees the best opportunities while also planning for a stronger BC construction industry. Shamus has been a long-time supporter of apprenticeships and competitive pay. We asked him questions and he answered them. Read on.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as an employer in the BC construction industry?

SJ: “Today’s problem: our labour shortage. You’re just always trying to think, how can I find more guys?”

How would you describe Shamus Jones Construction as an employer?

SJ: “I know we’re one of the few guys offering apprenticeships for red seal in a multi-family situation. We’re trying to pay competitive wages or above competitive wages. We also offer benefits to keep these guys. Once they start having families, that’s when it becomes really important to them to supply benefits, holidays and look after our guys. It’s really a big thing to me. It’s not really just about getting the work done, these guys have to go home. They have to go home safe because they have to come back the next day.”

How has the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) helped your company? 

SJ: “With STEP it’s easy because I can talk to my representative. He’s in the know, he’s in the touch. He knows what I’m looking for. He’s starting the hiring process for us. He’s cutting out some of the guys who may not be suited for this job or suited for another trade. With the STEP program we’re getting guys who actually want to be tradesmen, instead of somebody just looking for a pay cheque.”

How long have you been working with the STEP program? 

SJ: “I’ve been working with STEP for 5 years and had 25 placements within that time, some of which are now second years going on third years and we have one third year STEP graduate. We’re getting really close to finally getting our first Red Seal through STEP.”

Would you recommend STEP to other employers? 

SJ: “No, it’s my secret! Just kidding. I have recommended STEP to other employers – some of my friends own concrete companies. It’s a viable source because we’re getting an inside track.”

(Left to right) Cory Wong, Carpenter, with Shamus Jones, Owner of Shamus Jones Construction and Simon Cheng, Framing Carpenter. Cory and Simon found employment with Shamus Jones Construction through the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP).


Q&A | STEP Employer IGN Systems
Welder – Crystine Czerwinski