Safe and Productive Workplace

Play Video John Beckett - Vice President - Training, Safety & Recruitment
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The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association invests between 4 and 6 million dollars a year in on-the-job training to ensure a safe and productive workplace.

The BCMEA workforce numbers around 4500 people.   Every year, a fifth of those, upwards of 900 people, are trained on 36 rated positions. Training takes place in all the ports where goods move to and from Canada: Prince Rupert, New Westminster, Delta, Surrey, Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.

The BCMEA trains for 36 positions with a total of 90 variations  – this variety of positions means workers have an opportunity to progress throughout their careers. The BCMEA’s focus is on competency-based training, and each program has a training delivery and assessment component to ensure progression.

BCMEA training ensures that the right staff are available at the right time, a key to the productivity of British Columbia's ports.

 The BCMEA continues to invest in technology to provide better tools for its trainers. Those tools include electronic delivery of learning documents, as well as two state-of-the-art simulators. Using simulators, the BCMEA is able to train workers on four different types of cranes –pedestal, gantry, rubber-tired  gantry and mobile cranes. The Association has also invested in equipment such as lift trucks, bulldozers and other waterfront-specific equipment, to allow training to take place in a safe and efficient manner. 

All the training is done internally, with existing employees who have learned on the job from their peers. For waterfront employees, this commitment to training means the opportunity to receive ongoing equipment training. So although all employees start out in labour positions, they can quite quickly move into equipment operation and inventory control positions. In fact, 55% of the jobs dispatched by the BCMEA are as equipment operators, not labourers. 


The waterfront requires a workforce with an increasingly varied set of skills. Most terminals have equipment that is unique to the waterfront, and that equipment is constantly being updated. For the BCMEA, that means the continuous development of training programs to meet the needs of the Association’s member customers. 

BCMEA training ensures that the right staff are available at the right time, a key to the productivity of British Columbia’s ports. 

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