An excellent article appeared in the National Post – ‘Five trends that will shape the labour market landscape in Canada this year’ which made us at The Centre, pause to consider how we stack up.
Trend number one speaks to a projected manufacturing demand in Southwestern Ontario – a change for the boom experienced by western provinces. Predications for skilled engineers and technical workers is good news for The Centre; last year 42% of the over 2000 people we helped to get jobs were in professional positions and 26% people assumed jobs in skilled labour.
Trend two notes that ‘80% of the provinces’ total exports are made by Ontario manufacturers…’ This trend speaks well for the over sixty trades students who take The Centre’s pre-apprenticeship training in electrical, millwright/machinist and millwright electrical programs each year and the 40+ manufacturers who have hired our graduates.
Trend three seems to be a continuation of the conversation that began last year as the provincial government sought to address youth unemployment and skills gaps by charging service agents such as The Centre with responsibility for delivering new hiring incentive programs. Ensuring that training is relevant to current employability conditions is critical but the other part of the equation involves changing the mindset of what post-secondary education looks like. Changing perceptions takes time but we are seeing a renewed buzz about our skilled trades training as students (and parents) are starting to see trades’ careers as viable (and in fact, enviable) alternatives to traditional college or university career paths.
We were also pleased to see that one of the trends is employers wanting ‘…an all-in-one employee’. At The Centre, soft skills such as problem-solving and employability competencies are integrated into training including students in skilled trades programs, job seekers receiving one-on-one coaching or new immigrants being taught Canadian culture in an ESL class. Employers have told us they expect more and it is our job to prepare clients for workplace success regardless of whether they are wear steel-toed boots or leather loafers.
Finally, the last trend recognizes the changes that a new generation brings to the workplace. The ‘Gen-Z’ demographic, often defined as those born between 1995 and 2012, value flexibility and boast strong computer and media literacy skills. From an employers’ perspective, providing a workplace that is open to creative solutions and able to accommodate (or even embrace) new ideas to traditional ways of doing things can be a challenge. We’re fortunate at The Centre that we have a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. As one part of the adult and continuing education arm of the Halton District School Board, our clients have the assurance that our training is credible and staff is knowledgeable and professional. And, as a separate, incorporated entity, The Centre is able to offer flexible solutions benefiting staff and the multi-generational clients we serve.