Twenty-six workforce planning boards are knocking on doors for a provincewide survey to assess labor shortages across many skilled trades.
Alarm bells have been ringing for the last few years because projections have been discouraging due to an aging workforce, fewer employers willing to train new employees, and dropping apprenticeship numbers.
This year, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has asked planning boards to identify the sectors that will be hit the hardest.
Four workforce planning boards in Northeastern Ontario are working together to create the report. They include Workforce Planning for Sudbury and Manitoulin, The Labor Market Group in North Bay, Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation in Sault Ste. Marie, and The Far North East Training Board.
Now, they need direct input from local employers.
“This is your chance to share your concerns and suggestions with us in-person,” said Reggie Caverson, executive director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury and Manitoulin.
“We want to take a detailed look at what skilled trades are in demand and to ask employers directly about their thoughts on modernizing the apprenticeship system.”
An online survey and series of face to face interviews will help paint a complex picture. The ministry needs to know what can be done to improve government support initiatives.
Particular to the Greater Sudbury district is a shortage of businesses willing to train apprentices.
Caverson identifies red tape, small incentives, and high ratios of journeypeople to apprentices as significant challenges to be overcome.
Workforce planning boards hope to have the surveys and interviews completed by the end of November. They will submit their recommendations to the ministry in mid-January.
If your business would like to participate in the survey, you can contact your local workforce planning board.
Businesses in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts are encouraged to visit www.planningourworkforce.ca or to call the office to arrange an interview.