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Northern Ontario manufacturers urged to upskill young workers to combat looming labour shortage

Consider programs like WILWorks, which includes placements and wage subsidy

You’ve no doubt heard the predictions of a skilled labour shortage in Northern Ontario and Canada as a whole. By 2023, the Government of Canada warns that some 700,000 Canadian skilled trades workers are expected to retire. And the number of people entering skilled trades now and in recent years are not expected to provide enough replacements for the projected demand.

If you’re in manufacturing—a backbone of the North Ontario economy—this is a matter of great concern.

All of these efforts are aimed at building a pipeline to fill current and future labour shortfalls. But if you’re a northern or rural manufacturer, there’s something you can do right now:

Strengthen your workforce by upskilling the young employees you have on your current team, as well as new hires and summer and co-op students.

Providing upskilling opportunities to younger workers does more than improve their performance. When companies focus on future-proofing their workers by helping them prepare for the technological challenges of advanced manufacturing, they can also benefit from increased employee satisfaction—and loyalty.

Take advantage of subsidized in-house training

Upskilling sounds like a good plan, but how can start a manufacturer—especially a small or medium-sized one—find the resources to do it?

One way is by taking advantage of an in-house manufacturing employee training program offered to Canadian manufacturers. And it comes with valuable wage subsidies to sweeten the deal.

EMC’s WILWorks Skilled Trades in Advanced Manufacturing Program is designed to introduce youth, ages 15-29, employability skills, continuous improvement, advanced manufacturing technologies, and introductory electrical and mechanical technical theory. For a placement of up to 16 weeks, it also includes a wage subsidy of up to $5,000 per employee, up to a maximum of 50% of their wages. (For co-op students, the subsidy only applies to paid placements.)

WILWorks Skilled Trades in Advanced Manufacturing Program is a self-directed program, delivered online, so this training is highly flexible.

It’s enhanced with job shadowing activities, which will allow you to provide training that is specific to the equipment and processes in your own manufacturing facility. This requires a short-term investment, in terms of time and resources from your business, but the dividends will pay out over the long term as upskilled young workers help improve the quality, efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability of your whole operation.

EMC’s WILWorks Skilled Trades in Advanced Manufacturing Program is available now, and Canadian manufacturers can access it or learn more online here.

By investing in upskilling your current and growing young workforce, you will also be laying the groundwork for more successful recruitment and retention in the years ahead. Not to mention cultivating workers with advanced skills that will keep you at the top of your game. And providing valuable training opportunities will also help keep skilled tradespeople and their families in your community, as well as attracting new ones, to keep Northern Ontario’s economy strong.

Visit them online here to learn more about how Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium is contributing significant knowledge, expertise and resources towards the success of over 13,000 consortium and online member manufacturers.