Action needed to produce more skilled workers

With the number of projects proposed for the Northwest, Industry Training Authority CEO Kevin Evans says more needs to be done ...

With the number of projects proposed for the Northwest, Industry Training Authority CEO Kevin Evans says more needs to be done to ensure the skilled workers needed are available.

“The region is projected to have a 2.9 per cent increase in jobs in the next decade, which is the largest in the province…we’ll be ready, but are we ready now? The region will face shortages,” he warned.

“If you add up the jobs created by retirement and new economic opportunities, there is a shortage of about 3,620 workers.”

The three biggest areas of growth for the trades are projected to be machine and transportation mechanics, carpenters and heavy equipment operator.

While Evans says people will move to the region and companies will bring people in, but it is key the region develop capacity to allow locals and young people of the area to benefit.

“For us to be ready it’s not a question of the capacity at Northwest Community College or the ability of the government to get involved. We need employers to make apprenticeships happen,” Evans maintained.

“If companies want to be part of the economic opportunities in the region, they need to invest and take part in training for workers. The days of poaching workers from the guy next door who did the training are over, it’s no longer a valid strategy for recruitment,” he said, adding there will be competition for skilled workers from not just the different parts of BC but from the different parts of the country.

“It’s going to be very much a job seeker’s market.”