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8 | AUGUS T 2017 www.canadianmetalworking.com
ALL SKILLS AREN’T CREATED EQUAL
In the last issue we asked several job shop owners about the challenges facing their
businesses that worry them the most. In
almost every case, the answer was the same:
skilled labour shortages.
The revelation was not only unsurprising, it
This broken-record-like revelation has been
a clarion call from the manufacturing sector
ever since Henry Ford first went looking for
people to work on his moving assembly line, a
mere 104 years ago.
Here in the present, the national unemployment rate has been hovering between
6. 5 and 7. 5 per cent for the past five years.
Unfortunately, many of the jobs that are keeping this number low are in the service industry, a wide, varying, and broadly defined jobs
While it is fact these service sector jobs have
helped keep the economy running smoothly
over the past few years, not all service jobs
are created equal. High-paying IT support
positions, for example, are creating a class
of young workers that have discretionary income for the first time in their lives,
enabling them to buy homes, travel, and put
money back into the economy.
Unfortunately, there is another class of ser-
vice jobs being created at an ever-increasing
pace for which the only learned, and therefore
transferable, skill involves making a mighty
fine Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino®.
The latest numbers for the Canadian
manufacturing sector show that 13,000 jobs
were lost in June, bringing the yearly total to
more than 30,000 jobs. However, June’s total
employment went up by more than 45,000
jobs. This means there are jobs being filled,
just not in the manufacturing sector. South of
the border during the same period, 300,000
manufacturing jobs were filled. Almost by
default, this should cause some trickle-down
employment in this country. But it may take
A recent study conducted by the Ontario
Skilled Trades Alliance reported that 41 per
cent of the surveyed employers would currently hire more people if they had the skills
they were looking for.
This again proves there are jobs waiting for
workers to fill them. But where is the remedy?
Well, it likely will need to start at the local
level and progress from there. Just like how
charities work, every little bit helps.
A recent example is union giant Unifor’s gift
(from Local 444) of $75,000 to St. Clair College
to help upgrade the school’s trade programs.
Industry, government, educational institutions, unions, and employees all have a stake
in this game, and it’s time to go all in.
JOE THOMPSON, EDITOR
A recent study
conducted by the
reported that 41
per cent of the
currently hire more
people if they had
the skills they were