Northwest training plan released

A document to guide policies on workforce training for the Northwest has been released after a year of work.

A group operating under the banner of the Northwest Regional Workforce Table has completed their Regional Skills Training Plan, a document which sets out a number of recommendations for the province to act on as labour demands increase.

The report took most of 2012 to put together and Kitimat’s Economic Development Officer Rose Klukas co-chaired the Workforce Table.

She said that the report incorporated the input of a large cross-section of people, from industry to First Nations to educational institutes.

“I think that people…were keen on addressing needs at the local level so people wouldn’t have to go to Vancouver for training,” she said.

Nearly 100 people were involved in the group’s first get-together last January after being invited by the province.

Klukas said the committee will watch where the report goes from here as it works its way through to the province.

The report, which includes a comprehensive list of the occupations that will be in high demand over the next several years, provides for two scenarios — a conservative and an optimistic outlook — each which show growth in employment.

Under a conservative outlook, based on numbers from the BC Labour Market Information 2010-2020 report, 40 per cent of the high demand occupations to 2020 will be in the trades. Fourteen per cent of the high demand work will be labourers, 15 per cent semi-skilled workers and truck drivers and heavy-equipment operators will comprise 14 per cent.

Using their optimistic numbers, which were compiled based from the Northwest Transmission Line Human Resource Strategy and the BC Natural Gas labour demand reports, 50 per cent of demand will be with trades, with labourers at 26 per cent.

There were five eventual goals which came out of the report. One was to provide “students with a vision of a bright economic future in the region,” with a purpose to keep kids in school by making them more aware of the jobs that are coming up.

Goal two is to help lower-skilled workers upgrade their skills to access jobs with major projects. The report suggests developing action plans to increase literacy and numeracy as one of the potential actions to reach that goal.

Third, the Workforce Table wants to increase Aboriginal people’s participation in high-demand jobs, through actions such as developing two-way cultural awareness training in jobs programs.

Fourth, the report says to encourage collaboration among industry and regionally-based training providers, to ensure training in the Northwest continues to “reflect and adapt to regional employment needs.”

Finally, the fifth goal is to simply keep people continually informed on this training plan and to encourage collaboration in order to see the previous goals achieved.

The report can be viewed on the Northwest Community College’s website, by clicking here.