It was a meeting of the minds.
The Nuclear Innovation Institute hosted a Regional Skilled Trades Advancement in Walkerton on Friday.
There are tremendous career opportunities in the skilled trades sectors, the challenge is the lack of skilled trades people to fill those jobs.
In order to tackle this challenge over 90 participants from a very broad sector including, trades union, labour groups, Bruce Power, private industry, senior colleges, and government officials at the local, regional and provincial levels all came together during the Forum.
Their task was to provide input, insight and recommendations on ways to do more locally and collaboratively to ensure this regions’ success in the skilled trades sector.
Bruce Power Manager of Labour Relations Scott Clarke says within just a few years time, Bruce Power’s skilled trades workforce will jump from 1 thousand to 25 hundred.
It’s not just the nuclear industry feeling the pinch, Larsen and Shaw President Mary Jane Bushell says it is time to adopt a new model, saying the current one does not work.
She believes the best way to address this skilled trades shortage is by working together to develop the networks to increase the talent pools.
This involves a collaborative effort between industry, government, schools, colleges, labour groups and trades unions.
County Warden Mitch Twolan believes the best talent pool we can draw from is our own local high schools.
Expert Panelist Peter Sullivan (Director of Operations Manager Black & McDonald Limited) agrees.
The challenge says Sullivan is that so many youth are unaware of the wide variety of opportunities there are in the skilled trades sector.
He says this needs to be promoted at a much higher level in order to have an impact on the workforce.
There is no shortage of demand for skilled trades persons in the Bruce region as: there is a 74% demand by employers for full-time Journeyperson and an 80% demand by employers for full-time Apprentices.
Bruce Power’s multi-year, Life Extension Program, will increase the need for nuclear expertise and skilled trade development, requiring thousands of trades people each year for the next 20 years and beyond.
This equates to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs annually.
This works out to be 980 million to 1.2 billion in labour income into the Ontario economy annually.
Twolan says the feedback from the Forum will be used to build the foundation necessary to advance the County's vision for a Trades and Skilled Workforce Secretariat.