Slag and sparks will drop, bricks will be laid, and by the end of it all Alberta’s workforce should witness some building momentum.

The province committed $24 million for Calgary’s WorldSkills 2009 competition yesterday, an event drawing skilled labourers from across the globe hoped to stimulate an exodus of world trade specialists.

“We’ll never reach all our goals together if we don’t start attracting more people to Alberta,” said Premier Ed Stelmach, indicating Calgary’s hosting duties, only the third to be held in North America, could draw prospective labourers by showcasing the province’s “high quality of training, trades and technology.”


Mike Holmes, HGTV’s home-renovation guru who will be the competition’s honorary spokesperson, predicted a trade-worker shortfall of a million people in the next decade if more youth aren’t streamlined into the trades.

“We’re short and we’re short by a long shot,” Holmes said. “This is what I’m supposed to be doing instead of fixing crap every day on my show.”

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