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Half of Ontarians fear their skills will soon be obsolete REGIONAL BAY OF QUINTE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

Half of Ontarians fear their skills will soon be obsolete:
REGIONAL BAY OF QUINTE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE New Ontario Chamber of Commerce report urges action to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities 

BAY OF QUINTE, June 20, 2017 - Today the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), in partnership with the Belleville, Quinte West and Prince Edward County Chambers, released a comprehensive report, Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario, which identifies ten recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers.

The report, which was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, as well as with representatives from across Ontario, includes exclusive, new research of both Ontario Chamber Network members as well as the general population on sentiment toward skills development. Of the six in ten of businesses who attempted to recruit staff in 2016, 82 per cent experienced a challenge in hiring someone with the proper qualifications.

“Ontario employers are finding it more and more challenging to recruit properly qualified talent. If improvements are not made, we will find ourselves in a situation where there are ‘people without jobs and jobs without people” said Richard Koroscil, interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our latest report identifies opportunities to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities.” 

It is not just employers who are concerned with the growing skills mismatch. Of the general population, half of Ontarians are concerned their skills and expertise will no longer be useful or will become less valuable in the next decade. 

Over the last decade, the skills mismatch has been a major concern for the future growth of Ontario’s economy. The report states that as Ontarians move into the knowledge-based economy, with rapidly changing technological advancement, it is essential to leverage our greatest asset, human capital.

“According to Skills Canada, approximately 40% of the new jobs created over the next 10 years will be in the skilled trades,” said Suzanne Andrews, General Manager at the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce. “There needs to be a huge effort to educate parents and teachers about the great careers available in these areas as they play such an important role in guiding youth into their post-secondary and career choices. With as only 26% of young people aged 13 to 24 currently considering a career in these areas we can see that the skills shortage will continue with the next generation of workers.” 

“Through partnership with the East Central Ontario Training Board (ECOTB), I’m looking forward to hearing what our local employers are having difficulty with as well. There is a great deal of talk about the “skills mismatch” and while there are some issues that reach across all sectors, I believe there are other skill sets not even being discussed by smaller employers because they haven’t had the forum. Moving forward, I believe our membership may be able to support the ECOTB in engaging the local schools and Loyalist as the needs are clarified further – particularly in areas where our local schools have resources and expertise we need to connect with.” Remarks Jill Raycroft, President and CEO of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce.

The OCC’s report outlines a strategy that unites government and industry to work collaboratively to ensure that all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce required to compete in the global economy. In working together on the recommendations presented in this report, Government and industry can: 

  • Improve the transition from school to the workplace (through the expansion of experiential learning opportunities).
  • Improve the labour market outcomes (achieved through Employment Ontario programs).
  • Develop a modernized apprenticeship system (reflective of the current business climate and focused on the integration of young people into the trades). 

“Employers in the region are experiencing challenges to find qualified employees all the time,” said Emily Cowan, Executive Director of the Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce. “If we align government, employers and educators to find solutions to the skills mismatch, we can strengthen our economy and ensure there are meaningful career opportunities here in the Bay of Quinte Region. Until then, we’re fighting a losing battle of jobs without employees and employees without jobs.” 

Ontario’s Chamber Network has been active on the skills issue since 2012. This report is part of larger advocacy work to ensure all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce that they require to compete in the global knowledge economy. 

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is Ontario’s business advocate. See the full report here 

NAME: Emily Cowan
CHAMBER: PEC Chamber of Commerce
PHONE: 613-476-2421

NAME: Suzanne Andrews
CHAMBER: Quinte West Chamber of Commerce

NAME: Jill Raycroft
CHAMBER: Belleville Chamber of Commerce
PHONE: 613-962-4597

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