A Collaborative Approach to Addressing New Brunswick’s Labour Shortage

Sector-wide shortages in skilled labour are posed to significantly harm productivity for New Brunswick’s manufacturers. Fortunately, through the partnership of government labour organizations and private business leaders, a solution to this crisis is now available.

Obtaining and retaining skilled labour are two of the most prominent issues facing the Canadian manufacturing industry today. The rapidly-aging existing workforces of most manufacturers are already insufficient to handle ever-increasing customer demand, and, without a steady stream of knowledgeable, experienced newcomers to replace them, maintaining high levels of productivity will become impossible. Recognizing these challenges and the impact that they present to economies of every scale, a number of New Brunswick’s labour organizations have joined forces to build up a pool of workers with the proficiencies needed to succeed in the province’s manufacturing landscape. Through the alliance of these government entities and their partnerships with local manufacturing enterprises, employers in New Brunswick now have access to a wide range of well-trained workers eager to begin their careers in the manufacturing sector.

This employee recruitment and engagement initiative stems from the needs of both privately-owned manufacturing businesses and economically-minded departments of New Brunswick’s provincial government. Understanding the scarcity of both skilled labour and communication between manufacturers throughout the province, key members from noted trailer producer BWS Manufacturing, Opportunities New Brunswick, and New Brunswick Community College developed a thorough training program to introduce labourers to integral roles in the manufacturing process. Accessibility and inclusiveness were at the forefront of this program’s ideation — while the initiative’s core demographic is composed of recent graduates, workers of any age or level of experience looking to modernize their abilities and knowledge can utilize the training material provided, further broadening the amount of skilled labour available to employers. The high interconnectivity of the program’s activities also serves to strengthen the bonds between manufacturing businesses and recruitment entities, increasing communication and contextual awareness for all parties involved.

Over the program’s twelve-week duration, participants gain a thorough understanding of the skills required for success in manufacturing, and tangible experience with activities and operations across every stage of the production line. As this initiative is partly administrated by manufacturing leaders, workers are always kept up-to-date with processes needed throughout the industry, and are trained for high-demand jobs to ensure applicability and relevance in any field. The speed of the program is one of its greatest assets — after participants have finished twelve weeks of intensive training, they gain an exclusive micro-credential that certifies their ability to perform in a manufacturing environment. Upon completion of the course, program administrators utilize their connections throughout the manufacturing sector to support participants in finding full-time employment, streamlining and expediting the recruitment process for partnered businesses. Manufacturers should also keep in mind that this program is fully funded by its administrative organizations, which can significantly reduce — or entirely eliminate — their own onboarding costs.

The value of this program for workers and manufacturing employers is clear — after three cohorts, 29 participants had completed their training, and 21 of these labourers had secured full-time employment with a New Brunswick-based manufacturer. Employers centred out of New Brunswick would be wise to take advantage of the myriad of benefits offered by this initiative, and utilize the vast array of networking opportunities it provides to further ingratiate themselves in the province’s manufacturing sector.

For more on recruitment and training initiatives for manufacturers in New Brunswick, please contact Joan Richard, EMC’s Operations Manager for Eastern Canada. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge and expertise crucial to leaders in the Canadian manufacturing industry.

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