- The number of graduates with industrial skills is less than required with sector growth and demographic shifts, and this gap will grow over the next 10-15 years. The ability of educators to deliver solutions and the identification of areas where interventions and investments are required must be determined. A review of the training capacity that exists at the private and public college levels should take place within 60 days.
- The educational infrastructure may require large investments to meet the capacity required for future industrial skills demand. To increase the infrastructure capacity for industrial skills, a reinvestment budget must be developed to ensure training capacity is in place within three years.
- For the educational system to work most effectively, duplication of efforts must be eliminated and strategic investments made. Thus, to aid this, a college/industry body to oversee Industrial Training Capacity from an investment/duplication perspective should be created.
- A lack of awareness about the industrial sectors exists at the high school level, which only deters students from wanting to enter careers in these sectors. It is critical to reintroduce industrial component into the high school system and build a greater awareness of opportunities in these sectors.
- Guidance Counselors have many issues to deal with in the school system; however, a service for career coaching for students will help to match skills with aptitudes. It will also help guide individual students into more appropriate careers, foster awareness of the many different career options, and ultimately help to decrease unemployment because better aptitude-career matches will be made. To do this, the government needs to reallocate resources to TRUE guidance counseling/career counseling.
- The government holds tremendous influence for fostering awareness of specific sectors. To reach all gatekeepers and change their perceptions of the industrial sectors, government will need to place a great political emphasis on the opportunities in the industrial sectors.
- The preceding actions to improve perceptions will be the first steps towards change. A longer-term strategy is required to ensure positive perceptions are reinforced and maintained. To do this, a joint industry/government/college communication plan/budget needs to be developed within 60 days.
Labour Force Capacity
- Newfoundland and Labrador’s unemployment rate is high and a skills gap in the industrial sectors is approaching. The unemployed and underemployed need to be trained in skills that are in demand to effectively place these people in long-term careers. To utilize current resources, a Provincial program to integrate underemployed/non-participants via a direct company/individual matching system needs to be developed within one year.
- The underemployed/non-participants need to be guided into good career-aptitude fits. Without that fit, an individual may not last in a career for the long-term, which will result in a lost investment, further exacerbating the skills gap. To avoid this, a testing and diagnostic tool for broad circulation needs to be developed to identify underemployed/non-participants who have aptitude/interest in the industrial sector.
- Currently, no generic industrial skills program exists. The province’s industrial sector is fragmented into many different smaller sub-sectors, and to offer programs specific to each job would be extremely costly and inefficient. However, many skills overlap, and training is required to ensure skills the companies are seeking to remain competitive are attained. A generic industrial training program with literacy, numeracy, safety, and quality components should be developed within two years.