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News   October 11, 2019   by Allan Janssen

CAF aims to turn labour shortage talk into action

It's time to turn talk into action when it comes to attracting more skilled trade workers in Canada, Canadian Apprenticeship Forum says.


CAF executive director France Daviault gets the conversation going at one of the final stops on her cross-country tour.

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) has wrapped up a cross-country tour, soliciting ideas on how to turn all the talk about the current skilled labour shortage into concrete action.

CAF held 10 “community consultations” in four metropolitan centers to pick the brains of some 500 stakeholders, including representatives from the construction, HVAC, electrical, automotive, and carpentry trades, as well as union leaders, educators, and journalists.

CAF executive director France Daviault met with 27 people at one of the final meetings earlier this week at Toronto’s George Brown College.

“I get that we’ve all been talking about this forever. As the need becomes more dire, and as businesses start having to turn away business because of a shortage of labour, perhaps when we put our heads together, we will identify some tactical items that we can all benefit from,” she said.

Automotive instructors from Centennial College in Toronto address the apprenticeship consultation organized by CAF.

“I don’t know what the catalyst will be that finally turns what we know into action. I don’t know what will break through the logjam, but it can’t come soon enough!”

Throughout the two-hour meeting, a wide range of topics were discussed, including:

* low completion rates for apprentices in some trades,

* the high cost of tooling in some trades,

* streamlining the registration process for apprentices,

* early introduction of young people to the idea of working with their hands, and

* how to position trades so they are more attractive to young people entering the workforce.

To add another perspective on these topics, the views of youth will be also surveyed, at the association’s upcoming national symposium.

All of the feedback will be collated into a final report for the project’s sponsor, Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC). It will be used to inform CAF videos and literature.

The consultations are part of a three-year project. Phase 1 research culminated in the publication of “Apprentice Demand” a document that calculates the need for apprentices across a variety of trades.

“Through our research, it became clear that within five years, there’s going to be a need for 167,000 new apprentices in the top Red Seal trades across Canada,” said Daviault.

That report is available on the CAF website.

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