South Okanagan business leaders gathered in Penticton today to share ideas on how to attract and retain workers at a summit where the findings of a regional labour market strategy were released to the community.
The City of Penticton received $71,300 from the Province’s Community and Employer Partnership fund to research emerging labour market trends and to develop a three year strategy to help local businesses attract and retain skilled workers.
The strategy builds on the findings of a 2014 Labour Market Outlook funded by the Province that identified a labour shortage in the South Okanagan and need for increased training capacity, especially in the trades. It found that South Okanagan employers estimate their hiring needs will grow by 22% by 2020, especially for in-demand jobs like general farm workers, computer programmers and interactive media developers, cooks, technical sales specialists, user support technicians and retail sales.
The biggest challenge cited by the employers interviewed for the new labour market strategy was the lack of qualified and skilled workers available locally. Recommendations to address this include: developing stronger connections between local training programs and the business community to ensure alignment between training and employer needs, as well as creating an economic development strategy and regional training calendar.
The summit builds on ongoing work between the City of Penticton and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour to support skills training and labour market development in the region. Attendees were asked to prioritize key goals identified in the labour market strategy and identify local champions to move them forward. The summit also included a panel discussion with successful local business owners and operators who shared their experiences in recruiting, training and retaining staff, as well as other positive workplace strategies. The final labour market strategy will be available online in April at: http://www.penticton.ca/
Labour Market Partnerships are a component of the Employment Program of BC’s (EPBC) Community and Employer Partnerships fund for projects that share labour market information and increase employability throughout the province. They were introduced with the EPBC in April 2012. Labour Market Partnerships help local employers, employee and employer associations, and communities develop ways to deal with worker shortages or changes in the job market so they can prepare for the future.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 900 job seekers have benefited from work experience and 200 projects have been funded throughout the province.
- According to the 2014 Growing in the Okanagan 2020 Labour Market Outlook:
- More than 62% of South Okanagan employers hire seasonal workers.
- In 2011, 19% of the working population in the South Okanagan was between the ages of 55 to 64; 24.6% were between the ages of 45 to 54 years.
- The South Okanagan Business Solutions Forum Project shares business solutions and training resources and is a collaboration between the City of Penticton, Okanagan College, local and regional chambers of commerce and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour.
- In 2016, the South Okanagan/Similkameen Local Immigration Partnership Council commissioned research of new immigrants’ employment outcomes in South Okanagan/Similkameen (SOS), as well local employers’ experiences in hiring new immigrants. The Let’s Talk Jobs study aims to better understand labour market conditions that stand in the way of faster integration of newcomers in the SOS labour market and better hiring outcomes for employers.
- The Let’s Talk Jobs study reports that 20% of new immigrants in the SOS region are unemployed.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell –
“This Labour Market Partnership study turns research into tangible next steps. It sets a roadmap to develop resources and supports to help business owners in the South Okanagan attract the skilled workers they need. This is a great example of the region and government working together to build a strong South Okanagan economy.”
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond –
“We are expecting almost one million job openings in B.C as a result of an aging demographic and economic growth. It is more important than ever that we put plans in place to attract and retain the workforce we need to meet the labour market demand today and into the future. The South Okanagan regional strategy is one way to tackle the challenges and take advantage of the career opportunities.”
Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton –
“The Skilled Labour Market Summit is a great opportunity for South Okanagan business leaders to come together and share their experience and ideas on how to attract skilled workers to our region. I look forward to the prioritized goals identified in the labour market study that will help our local businesses train and attract the talent they need to grow and thrive.”
Andrew Jakubeit, mayor, City of Penticton –
“This study allows us to confidently craft real actions that have been driven by over 150 local business voices. The collaboration here today sets in motion tactics that will strengthen our businesses and community.”
To read the 2014 Okanagan 2020 Labour Market Outlook: http://www.investkelowna.com/sites/default/files/uploads/growingintheokanagan_labourmarket2020.pdf
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/