• Woman operating heavy vehicle

YWCA Breaking Ground is a FREE 25-week Heavy Equipment Operator Training and Employment Program for Women offered in partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 115.

The Program includes on-the-job training with an IUOE Local 115 signatory employer in the road building or heavy construction sector. Upon completion, Breaking Ground graduates will be ready to start a rewarding job in the BC Road Building Industry.

There are 4300 Construction Trades and Labourer jobs forecasted in the next 10 years across the Province. Heavy Equipment Operators will be in great demand for many years to come.

The BC Government is working with the IUOE and employers in 2020 to hire more trainees on major construction projects, which is an excellent opportunity for Breaking Ground graduates.

Project Description:

This Project-Based Labour Market Training (PBLMT) program offers training to gain the skills necessary to register as a Heavy Equipment Operator Apprentice with Industry Training Authority (ITA).


  • This is a great entry point into the BC Road Building Industry and the first step towards a rewarding career in road building, construction and heavy equipment operating.
  • Participants who successfully complete the training component will undertake work experience with a union contractor and have an opportunity for long-term employment with union pay and benefits.
  • Upon successful completion of the work experience component, there is the opportunity for participants to become an apprentice with the International Union of Operating engineers Local 115.

Next Intake:

February 24, 2020 in Maple Ridge. 

Training Includes:

  • Four weeks of essential skills and employability skills training.
  • Twelve weeks of occupational training with the IUOE Local 115 Training Association (IUOETA) including:
    • Road Building and Heavy Equipment Foundations Course (3 weeks)
    • Heavy Equipment Operator Technician Course (4 weeks)
    • Heavy Construction Training Course (5 weeks)
  • Five weeks/150 hours of on the job work experience with an IUOE Local 115 signatory employer 
  • Four weeks of personalized job placement and follow up support with the YWCA Job Coach

Eligibility Requirements:

You are eligible to participate if you are an unemployed woman who:

  • Is currently on EI or have been within the last five years OR have earned $2,000 or more and paid employee EI premiums in at least 5 of the last 10 years OR have established a benefit period and were paid maternity/paternity benefits within the past five years and are re-entering the labour force
  • Holds a valid BC driver’s license and acceptable driver’s abstract
  • Is proficient in English 
  • Is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Has the physical and sensory capacity to operate heavy equipment
  • Is willing to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Is able to commit to 25 weeks of full-time classroom, occupational training and work experience

How to register:

If you meet the eligibility requirements, contact your local WorkBC Centre and ask for a referral from a Case Manager. To find a WorkBC Centre near you, please visit workbccentres.ca 

For more information, contact Tina Hurd at thurd@ywcavan.org | 604 219 2452