Syrians trained as GTA bricklayers
March 07, 2018
Syrians Salah Dib, left, and Dabbah Dib build a brick wall during a course
at the Skilled Trades College of Canada.
Syrian refugees to Canada are being trained as bricklayers to help meet a critical shortage in the trade across southern Ontario’s residential construction industry.
Five Syrians are currently looking to kick-start their careers through the free-tuition specialized course at the Skilled Trades College of Canada in Vaughan, Ontario.
The College recognized the high demand for bricklayers in the residential construction industry in March 2017. In January 2018, it launched an eight-week Residential Bricklaying Program in a 3,000-square-foot workspace as well as in classrooms.
“Getting into this program is offering me a great opportunity for my new life here in Canada,” said Salah Dib, who was a construction labourer in Syria. “I'm excited to be learning skills to help me build a new career.”
Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON)—which represents more than 200 home builders across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)—said bricklayers are in extremely high demand.
“Getting bricklayers on site has been a source of frustration for our members because there is a bricklayer shortage in the GTA,” Lyall says. “The delays in bricklaying are one of the main stumbling blocks for finishing new homes.”
Ralph Cerasuolo, director for the College, said the plan is to train 30 students this year and at least 200 bricklayers per year by 2020. Half of the students in the first class were recent arrivals from Syria.