VICTORIA - Government has invested $100,000 in a Labour Market Partnerships Program agreement with the Automobile Retailers Association (ARA) and its automotive industry partners to undertake labour market research to identify the future labour needs of the sector.
B.C.'s automotive industry, which includes the automotive aftermarket and service sectors, will need more skilled employees in the near future, and this partnership allowed the industry to identify their human resource needs to ensure they have skilled workers to fill key positions in these sectors. The research project took an industry "pulse check" to compare future labour demand with anticipated supply to see how they will align. The project identified a future gap in all employment areas in the automotive sector, with particularly significant gaps in technical and professional occupations.
The study is the first of its type in British Columbia to determine future skilled labour needs for the automotive sector. This project was funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA).
According to the ARA, which undertook the project on behalf of the sector, and whose members include power sport dealers, licensed motor dealers, towing, collision repair, mechanical repair, auto recyclers, auto rental, and auto glass companies, a steady stream of skilled employees will be needed to guarantee continued provision of service excellence. With this information now in hand, ARA plans to develop a comprehensive human resource strategy for the sector and identify industry-specific training needs to ensure workers with the right skills are available, and in the future, trained here in B.C.
In 2012-13, the $280-million LMDA budget is being used to provide employment assistance services, job-creation partnerships, labour market partnerships, self-employment, skills development and targeted wage subsidies programs. Under the BC Jobs Plan and BC Skills and Training Plan, government is actively working to 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.
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell -
"Building a skilled workforce is a priority for this government to ensure British Columbians are ready for the many opportunities coming our way. That's why we have provided funding for more than 30 Labour Market Partnership projects in seven of the province's eight key growth sectors in order to develop human resources strategies that will identify the upcoming need for workers and specific training to address skills shortages like the ones identified in the automotive sector."
Ken McCormack, president and CEO of ARA -
"We've been aware of the pending skills gap for some time and believe that developing a human resource strategy is a critical step toward ensuring we have the necessary skilled employees for continued growth and success and that career oriented individuals see the exciting professional and entrepreneurial development opportunities in this dynamic sector."
- In B.C., the automotive sector is primarily a service industry based around the sale, maintenance, repair and disposal of motor vehicles.
- It accounts for 1.9 per cent of provincial GDP and 2.3 per cent of employment.
- The sector employs approximately 45,000 people throughout the province in a combination of professional occupations including those that are technical and business oriented in nature.
- The automotive sector in B.C. is a mature industry and less cyclical, meaning employment growth and entrepreneurial opportunities are expected to continue to follow that of vehicles on the road and population.
- The stability of the industry means that job security is relatively high.
- Local employment opportunities exist in all regions of the province, which means interested individuals may not need to move to find employment or business opportunities.
- Changes in technology ensure the need to provide opportunities for on-going skill upgrading.
- The Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) Labour Market Partnership program provides financial assistance to encourage, support and facilitate labour force adjustments and human resource planning activities which are in the public interest.
- In British Columbia, funding under the LMDA is used to support labour market programs and services for residents who are collecting Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or have received them in the last three years, or for parents re-entering the labour force who have collected EI parental benefits in the last five years. It is also used to support employers in addressing human resources challenges.
Automotive Retailers Association: www.ara.bc.ca
Labour Market Partnerships Program: www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/sector-partnerships/labour-market-partnerships-program.htm
WorkBC skills training programs:www.workbc.ca/Education-Training/Programs/Pages/Employment-Programs.aspx
Industry Training Authority: www.itabc.ca
BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca/
BC Skills and Training Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca/skills/
Ideas2Actions - results of the Skills4BC online discussion:www.bcjobsplan.ca/ideas-to-actions/
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills
Training and Responsible for Labour
President and CEO
Automobile Retailers Association