Education is the key to filling the skilled labour shortage

August 9, 2022

At current count, there are nearly a million unfilled positions in Canada — many of which are in the skilled trades. This gap is creating pressures for companies as they look to recruit talent, though the brunt of this situation has yet to come.

According to a 2021 report by the Royal Bank of Canada, Canada’s workforce will experience a shortage of 10,000 Red Seal trades over the next five years, while 700,000 skilled tradespeople are expected to retire by 2028. Beyond the skilled trades, numerous other sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers are already in high demand and expected to grow, including technicians, programmers, developers and engineers.

Solutioning a systematic national-scale crisis is no small task. It requires a co-ordinated approach from all stakeholders to create long-term talent sustainability. It demands innovative thinking, challenging outdated mindsets, removing stigmas and stereotypes, and tapping into a wider, underrepresented, talent pool to mend the gap.

Youth education is an important starting point. Without adequate exposure to STEM, young people are less likely to develop critical skills, discover a lifelong passion or learn about future career opportunities. Research confirms that youth advocacy, engagement and programming is creating positive change in attitudes and behaviours toward STEM, while providing education and career pathways to in-demand employment.

High schools, colleges, polytechnics, universities, and trade schools play a critical role in setting up for long-term success. Career counsellors can be an important link between students and finding the right opportunities. Post-secondary institutions must graduate students well-prepared for the workforce with programming tailored to provide students with knowledge for the future as technology rapidly changes. Their network can also be helpful in up-skilling the workforce as demands rise for digital and soft skills among journeypersons.

Source: Edmonton Journal