Canadian HR Reporter

July 10, 2017

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER July 10, 2017 NEWS 3 Federal government turns focus to trades Liberals launch $85-million training program supporting apprenticeships BY MARCEL VANDER WIER CANADA'S next generation of trades workers — specifically women and indigenous people — were the focus of an $85-mil- lion announcement made by Em- ployment Minister Patty Hajdu in May. e Union Training and Inno- vation Program will be launched with a call for proposals beginning July 24, alongside initial funding of $10 million, to be followed by $25 million annually. e program supports union- based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced part- nerships. e government's in- vestment aims to create a more skilled, mobile and certified trades workforce that has access to good- quality jobs, said Hajdu. "We're helping apprentices and tradespeople get the skills they need to succeed, and breaking down barriers for women and indigenous people in pursuing a great career in a skilled trade." The program includes two funding streams. e first will see unions receiving financial support to purchase up-to-date training equipment and materials to keep up with technological change and industry standards. e second stream will fund innovative ap- proaches meant to break down barriers that deter women and Indigenous people from starting a career in the trades. e skilled trades are a grow- ing and vital part of the Canadian economy, and promotion of this sector is critical, said Hajdu. And while there's been an increase in apprenticeship enrolment, the trades are still perceived as a sec- ond choice over university educa- tion, she said. Tradespeople play an impor- tant role in the national economy, representing one in five employed Canadians, said Josh Bueckert, a spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada. "ough apprenticeship train- ing falls under the responsibility of the provincial/territorial jurisdic- tion, the government of Canada plays a significant role in ensuring Canada has enough skilled trades- people to respond to the needs of the labour market," he said. "e demand for tradespeople will con- tinue to grow as a result of invest- ments in infrastructure and an aging workforce." e program will guide devel- opment of a future-focused con- struction workforce, said Robert Blakely, COO of Canada's Build- ing Trades Union. "It is significantly good news," he said. "is is going to make a hell of a difference in a very good way for apprenticeship in the country." "I'm really hoping that it's going to give us more capacity to train. One of the very serious road- blocks for people getting through an apprenticeship is that it's dif- ficult to complete because there's capacity issues. Employers and owners want to get people with the skills they need in their plant without… (having) to do any more training when someone actually gets to the job." Targeting marginalized groups One of the government's priori- ties is to promote a more gender- balanced and inclusive workforce where women are represented in all occupations and sectors, ac- cording to Bueckert. Women still face challenges in the trades including attitudinal barriers, a lack of mentors, dif- ficulty finding a job, and other discriminations. "Jobs in the skilled trades are in-demand and pay well," he said, noting women account for just 10 per cent of new registrations in Red Seal trades. "When trades such as hairstyl- ing, cooking and baking are re- moved, women make up only four per cent of all continuing Red Seal apprentices," said Bueckert. Similarly, indigenous people face barriers such as insufficient financial support, cultural differ- ences and negative stereotypes. New money will deepen unions' outreach to these marginalized communities, said Hassan Yus- suff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. "Part of the target is to try and get more people in the trades from those particular demographic groups," he said. "is will help tremendously in that regard. e small amount of money which the government is spending on this program will be a tremendous benefit." e money directed towards marginalized groups will help foster a culture of change, said Yussuff. And with the government funding new equipment purchas- es, additional financial resources NUMBER > pg. 8 Tradespeople represent one in five employed Canadians.

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