I’ve always believed that every project we work on at 14 Oranges presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges. It’s part of what I love about this work – we thrive on tackling these challenges head-on.

Recently, we had the opportunity to work with SkillPlan and its Building Trades Councils partners on the Construction Trades Hub project. SkillPlan, a workforce development organization that’s a part of the unionized construction industry, entrusted 14 Oranges to create a network of 10 websites for its project stakeholders, Canada’s Building Trades Unions and Provincial Building Trades Councils across Canada.

This project was exciting because it wasn’t just about web development; it was about addressing Canada’s skilled trade shortage and creating a platform to inspire individuals to explore the world of skilled trades, develop their skills and connect to unions and apprenticeship opportunities.

From Mentorship Advantage to a Bigger Mission

Our journey with SkillPlan commenced in 2018 with the development of the Mentorship Advantage app, which later evolved into the main SkillPlan Mentorship Matters app. Over time, this collaboration extended to website maintenance and gradually led to the creation of multiple websites.

This Future Skills Centre-funded Construction Trades Hub (Virtual Recruitment) project created a nationwide virtual recruitment system with the goal of attracting traditionally underrepresented groups (including newcomers, women and youth) to explore, pursue and be fast-tracked into successful careers in the skilled construction trades in Canada, a sector that offers stable and well-paying opportunities. Originally, the project aimed to create a single website that represented various provinces’ information on respective career opportunities, salaries and specific programs, as well as access to various learning tools and resources. While the original plan envisioned a single website (that had been initiated by another company) with microsites for each province, as deployment began, provinces had their own unique aspirations and requests for customization. The initial structure needed to be adapted to align with these ever-evolving needs.

Embracing Complexity

SkillPlan made the decision to work with 14 Oranges as our team has extensive experience in developing complex interconnected websites that would involve multiple stakeholders with differing perspectives. After taking time to get to the heart of what the project needed to achieve, we arrived at an approach to support SkillPlan and its provincial partners in reaching their joint and unique objectives.

A Solution: Ten Unique, Connected Websites

The revised approach was to create 10 separate WordPress websites, each connected while sharing a common structure. Some provinces had similar templates, but others had entirely distinct designs. For example, British Columbia and Ontario, despite sharing some common elements, had their own distinct themes.

The Importance of Flexibility

One of the challenges in this project was balancing the need for flexibility with maintaining a coherent brand for the Construction Trades Hub. The goal was for each province to have some degree of independence to make changes, but there also needed to ensure some consistency. 14 Oranges suggested maintaining a core structure that could adapt to each province’s unique requirements. Leaning on our ability to be adaptable and versatile, our approach provided a balance between customization and maintaining a unified brand.

A Unique Challenge with Positive Outcomes

This project was a unique challenge for 14 Oranges, one that really pushed us to lean into our ability to manage the complex dynamics of multiple stakeholders while delivering a cohesive result. Being able to change requirements and ensuring flexibility has been key to its success.

The Bigger Picture: Encouraging Skilled Trades

This project was a big undertaking, but recognizing the big picture makes the successful finished product feel even more rewarding.

This project, at its core, was about promoting the skilled trades, creating skills development opportunities in order to create a brighter future for Canada’s skilled trades and I’m proud of how the 14 Oranges team helped bring the overall vision to life.

Even though we’re a web development company, our mission is not just about code and design; it’s about making a positive impact in our communities and beyond.

If you represent a large association or member group with diverse regions, shared goals, and unique needs, and you’re seeking a cohesive way to communicate with your members, get in touch.

Sylvain Marcotte is CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

Virtual Recruitment Project for the Skilled Trades