TVET to help overcome Canada’s skills shortage problem

A recent survey in Canada details employers’ struggle to find candidates with the skills they need – with 68% finding it hard to find the right staff.  On-the-job experience, interpersonal skills, problem solving and technical abilities are lacking.Canada

Skills shortages, an ageing population and an evolving business environment are making it different to recruit and retain employees but Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) can help to address these problems.

Vocational education key to filling skills gap

There are an estimated 66% of new job openings in Canada between 2013 and 2022 that will require at least some apprenticeship training. This is expected to account for the largest component of new jobs that will be available in Canada.

Canada’s vocational schools offer education suited to individual needs, goals and strengths – helping students gain career-specific skills and knowledge.  Youth entering industries such as beauty, business, arts, healthcare, and trades can better prepare themselves to enter their chosen workforce.

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is a national organisation representing publicly supported colleges in Canada – and internationally – working with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds.

The 2013-2018 Strategic Plan outlines key objectives including:

  • Developing advocacy strategies with a primary focus on skill gaps
  • Essential and advanced skills, mobility, applied research and institutional capacity
  • Positioning literacy and essential skills as a national priority to enhance employability to drive Canada’s economy
  • Identifying new developments of emerging trends

The Government has put together initiatives for businesses to address the skills shortage.  The Canada-B.C. Job Grant is just one example.  It’s a small business grant of up to $10,000 to fund training their employees.  Businesses can apply for funding for existing employees, as well as new hires.

Canada’s unemployment and economic pressures have been a challenge over the last few years.  Unemployment rose to 7.1% in September 2015, with 1.6 million people out of work and youth unemployment also remains stubbornly high.

An economy on the rise

Canada’s July GDP grew 0.3% month on month, ahead of forecasts.  The Bank of Canada estimated it would take annualised growth of at least 2.5% for the economy to be healthy again – which is expected in 2016.

The Economic Action Plan has been launched to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.  This plan lays out all of the strategies in order to achieve a balanced budget, creating jobs and growth through innovation, supporting small businesses, building infrastructure and training the workforce of tomorrow.

The Government has paid down $37 billion in debt since 2006 and is working to balance the budget, to keep taxes low and ensure working Canadians are supported, rather than depended on to pay interest costs.

There’s a strong focus on investing in infrastructure, with the Public Transit Fund a standout imitative.  This program will be the Government’s largest infrastructure project, which makes public transport affordable for everyone.

The Government is also focused on skilling their people.

The plan outlines training for Canadians, including new actions to level out apprenticeship training in trades.  The goal is to better align training with the needs of the employers, to ensure today’s workers get connected with available jobs.

Ahead of the curve, with TVET

But changes need to happen on the ground level too, according to a report by the Conference Board of Canada in 2014, and early career development and workplace training are two methods to address these issues.

Understanding the factors affecting the workforce, and being able to identify growth sectors and job roles, will help the TVET system get ahead of the curve.

WPAA and Workforce BluePrint can assist help your Registered Training Organisation or TVET Institute for the changing business and workforce landscape.

Contact Wendy Perry via wendy@wpaa.com.au.

February 2016

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