May 16, 2013 - The Plant Engineering & Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC) says it has been awarded a grant by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities to invest in skills development initiatives in the field of Physical Asset Management.
April 16, 2013 - Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s advanced education minister, announced the province is providing $1 million in design funding through the 2013-14 budget to Parkland Regional College for a new Trades and Technology Centre in Yorkton.
"The most positive thing we can do to ensure continued prosperity in the Northwest is to make sure our training opportunities match industry needs," Clark said. "I'm delighted that this investment in regionally targeted skills training will help strengthen those linkages and give students and current and future employers the opportunities they need to fill the jobs that are available today and help generate the jobs that will make this region flourish and grow for years to come."
The funding, which comes through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement, is part of a province-wide $7-million, one-time funding investment that will allow the individual institutions to target specific short-term training that is needed to meet the labour market needs of the Northwest.
"A key part of planning for future labour market needs is to make the right connections between government, industry and institutions so they can work together to identify and deliver training that matches labour market needs," said Ralph Sultan, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. "This funding will help provide targeted training and give students in the Northwest access to specialist expertise that will provide them with strong, marketable skills that are in demand in their own part of the province."
"We thank the government for investing in our students and our communities," said Denise Henning, president and CEO of Northwest Community College. "These dollars help Northwest Community College ensure northerners are stepping into economies in this region with skills that are relevant and responsive to industry needs."
This investment will also support short-term training that aligns with the outcomes from the Northwest Regional Workforce Table and the short-term training related to the activities of B.C.'s Centres of Training Excellence.
The establishment of a Northwest Regional Workforce Tables is a key commitment for the region under the BC Jobs Plan. It has successfully brought together regional knowledge and expertise to determine how to effectively align regional training to meet local employment opportunities and ensure residents in the Northwest have access to training and job opportunities in their home communities.
There are currently two B.C. Centres of Training Excellence that were set up under the BC Skills and Training plan. These involve multiple partners and focus on mining and oil and gas. Northwest Community College is the lead partner in the Mining Centre of Training Excellence and aims to provide a central point of contact within the post-secondary system to draw on expertise across the system to support training in the resource sectors.
Under the BC Jobs Plan and BC Skills and Training Plan, government is actively working ensure that British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for jobs in the province through an investment of $75 million for new capital and equipment to complement $500 million in annual investments in employment and skills training programs.
“With our rich diversity, Toronto area business and organizations have a wonderful opportunity to become even more innovative. Our annual Immigrant Success Awards prove that great things can happen when immigrants and businesses come together,” says Margaret Eaton, executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). “Yet, the competition for skilled immigrant talent is increasing and other companies need to follow these winners’ leads in order to attract the best and the brightest to our region before it is too late.”
The risk is real. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently released 2012 immigration statistics and the number of immigrants settling in Toronto is on the decline. In 2012, almost 10,000 fewer immigrants made Toronto their home compared to 2008. However, top employers already recognize the advantages when immigrants choose to settle here and are leading the way in attracting and integrating skilled immigrant talent into the Greater Toronto Region labour market.
TRIEC and RBC are recognizing these employers at the 7th Annual Immigrant Success Awards. The winners demonstrate how skilled immigrants have a direct impact on innovation and success within each organization; these organizations serve as examples for others to follow. “TRIEC’s IS Awards showcase the potential that businesses in Toronto and the entire Greater Toronto Region stand to gain if skilled immigrants are fully integrated into the labour market,” says Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer at RBC.
Among the winner was SMTC Corp., winner of the CBC Toronto Immigrant Advantage Award. Founded in 1985, SMTC is a Markham-based manufacturer specializing in electronics. Truly a diverse culture, SMTC employs individuals from over 20 countries and across five continents. On the production floor, 95 per cent of employees are immigrants and one-third of the manufacturer’s senior management team are skilled immigrants. With business thriving and the necessary skilled employees in place, SMTC is transforming its Markham manufacturing plant into an intelligence centre—good for business globally and great for home-grown innovation here in the GTA.
Over the past seven years, TRIEC has recognized more than 25 employers for their leadership in recruiting and retaining skilled immigrants. Each organization is different, but each recognizes the value of a diverse workforce for both the individual employer and the larger economy:
1. Diversity breeds innovation: skilled immigrants bring diverse thinking and problem-solving skills that advance innovation
2. Language skills and cultural know-how are key: a workforce that reflects the community it serves allows a business to more effectively engage with its customers and access networks locally and overseas that might otherwise go untapped
3. Access to greater talent: the Toronto and GTA offers a major talent pool of potential employees who are often highly educated and possess unique skills and can help address skills shortages
Based on a series of interviews with employers and trainers, the report suggests that computer literacy is increasingly a prerequisite of employment. The ‘digital gap’ will become as important as the ‘literacy gap’ over the next decade.
“It is clear that digital skills will have a big impact on worker and workplace productivity,” said Sarah Watts-Rynard, executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. “The introduction of increasingly high-tech equipment and machinery requires skilled tradespeople to have competencies well beyond hands-on, mechanical skills. We are also seeing the learning environment itself changing, requiring apprentices to interact with technology as part of their training process.”
The report notes the emergence of online learning, 3-D technology and simulation as an integrated part of apprenticeship technical training. Simulation, for example, is prevalent in training for welding, motive power, machining and heavy equipment operation trades. It provides opportunities for “hands-on” experience with real-time feedback, while reducing waste, increasing safety and safeguarding expensive equipment.
Journeypersons also rely on technology on worksites. For example, as electronic systems are increasingly integrated into vehicles, technicians must use diagnostic equipment to service them. In construction and manufacturing trades, skilled tradespeople often use tablets and mobile devices to call up schematics, codes and work orders.
“We have heard for decades that technology can help workers be safer, faster and more accurate,” Watts-Rynard said. “But it’s important to remember that technology requires another facet to the learning process and it doesn’t always come automatically, even to younger workers. Technical upgrades require skills upgrades.”
The Impact of Technology on Apprenticeship shares insights into the challenges identified by apprenticeship stakeholders, including a lack of policy framework and the increasing reliance on online learning programs developed in the U.S., which often overlook Canadian standards such as Red Seal. A series of recommendations also emerged in the study.
Read the full report at www.caf-fca.org.
Given the importance of job creation for youth in Ontario, Randstad Canada believes it’s essential to channel young people entering the workforce into fields with high demand for talent, including engineering, IT, and skilled trades.
“In particular, it makes sense to encourage youth in Ontario to consider engineering as a worthwhile career option,” said Keith Wark, vice-president, central and eastern region with Randstad Engineering. “This is a sector that is clearly in need of seasoned professionals as older engineers retire. If we want to develop that pool of talent, we must hire and develop young engineers now.”
The recently released study, Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2020, commissioned by Engineers Canada and sponsored by Randstad Engineering, reveals that Canada is facing a short supply of engineers with more than 10 years of experience, and that supply and demand imbalances in the engineering sector are becoming more serious, specifically in Ontario:
Findings from the Labour Market report note that resource projects in the north and infrastructure upgrades in most regions drive job creation, and that steady improvements in manufacturing create supply pressures for industrial engineers. Additionally, it notes that resource and infrastructure projects add jobs and create significant supply pressures for mining and civil engineers, while steady improvements in manufacturing create supply pressures for industrial engineers.
Randstad Canada’s own projections see a growing demand for engineers in Ontario’s aerospace sector, which requires a highly skilled workforce to deal with aging commercial fleets that will soon need to be replaced. Demand is also growing for engineers in the construction sector, a result of new infrastructure projects. The growth in construction has resulted in an imbalance in the supply of engineers and other highly skilled workers.
Construction activity has been growing and is expected to plateau from 2014 to 2016 and grow moderately, while resource activity in mining and other areas contributes to overall gains for engineers. Expansion demand is gaining momentum and markets are tightening quickly in resource related areas.
While labour market conditions vary from region to region, Ontario in particular must find ways to strike a balance between retiring skilled engineers, and training incoming graduates and international candidates.
“We are encouraged by the provincial government’s stated commitment to youth employment and its understanding of the needs of Ontario’s labour market, ” said Wark. ‘’New projects mean great prospects for young engineers, but employers will need to start hiring based on potential instead of just experience, as a way to counterbalance labour shortages.”
The Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation (CEI) finished construction in September 2012 and has welcomed over 1,400 Engineering students to the facility this past semester.
“The building is really a marvel of engineering and education,” said Mehrdad Saif, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “The building was designed to feature a wide variety of different structures and systems that demonstrate construction and engineering ideas for students to see firsthand. In the classroom they are learning the engineering and construction theory and just a quick walk through of the building itself puts those theories into real life examples that they can experience and put in to context.”
Among the many design features, the 300,000-sq.-ft. building has a 20,000-sq.-ft. living green roof with measurement devices that allow students to compare the green roof’s data to that from the control sample on the regular roof. With engineering education in mind, the entire building was made with different concrete and steel building materials. Also of note is the atrium which Fernando Cruz, project manager at Halsall Associates explains, contains four bridges built over the atrium that students and researchers can use to test material strain and deformation.
The entire building is monitored by an automation system that displays all of the information on a touch screen in the atrium that researchers can access to collect data on how the facility is running.
“It was important that we looked at this building not only as a place to house the students, faculty and staff, but how we could best utilize it as a teaching tool as well,” said Saif. “This is the first time that we are able to get the entire Faculty of Engineering under one roof and we’re excited that we were able to design and construct such an outstanding structure for them.”
CEI contains more than 80 teaching and/or research laboratories, some with features never before seen in North America—allowing the University of Windsor to explore new areas of research and involve more students than ever before.
The new building also allows for more collaboration between industry and university projects with the Industrial Courtyard creating a direct connection between education, research, and industrial innovation.
“This is a major step for the University of Windsor and for the Windsor-Essex region,” said University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman. “The Centre for Engineering Innovation will provide our students with an extraordinary facility within which to learn and to see engineering in action. It will provide laboratories and research facilities where emerging priorities such as environmental sustainability, alternative energy, nanostructure, lighter materials, and more efficient manufacturing systems can be addressed.”
“Employers in the engineering field say we need good, skilled workers,” says Marcia Friesen, Director of the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification Program at the University of Manitoba. “It just makes good business sense to do everything we can to bring international engineering graduates here and integrate them into our communities.”
The website, accessible at http://newcomers.engineerscanada.ca, was created to help international engineering graduates overcome common obstacles to integration. In many cases, newcomers are poorly informed of the licensure process in Canada, unaware of how long it takes or that requirements can differ from province to province. Many newcomers also lack the communication skills needed to successfully pursue an engineering career in Canada.
Written in clear, plain language for people whose first language may not be English or French, Engineers Canada’s website will help users make more informed career decisions. It offers practical information on topics such as getting licensed, finding suitable employment and integrating into the Canadian engineering profession, as well as guidance on the immigration process and adapting to Canadian culture.
Visitors to the website also have access to the new Academic Information Tool, which they can use to compare their undergraduate education to Canadian engineering programs to help them understand how their academic credentials are likely to be received in this country.
With Canada in need of more engineers with practical experience and specialized skills, ensuring the smooth and rapid integration of international engineering graduates is crucial to our economic growth and prosperity. The launch of this new website coincides with recent changes made to the Government of Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Program that will make it easier for international engineering graduates to become ‘licence-ready’ before coming to Canada. (For example, the program now places greater emphasis on language proficiency and awards points based on the ‘true value’ of a person’s international education.) Through Engineers Canada’s site, potential newcomers can get a better idea of what exactly they should know and do ahead of time so they can make it through the Federal Skilled Worker Program selection system quickly and efficiently.
“In so many cases, people don't know what they're actually getting into when they come here,” says Kate MacLachlan, Director of Academic Review for the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. “With this site, we’re looking to make sure international engineering graduates are as prepared as possible.”