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How can Canada close its skilled trades gap?

Closing Canada's skilled trades gap

Manufacturers need to help drive interest in their own sector

Taylor Swift is moving from music superstar to economic powerhouse in front of our eyes.

Her tour “Eras” is expected to earn as much as $5 billion—more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of dozens of countries. The “Anti-Hero” singer is a phenomenon. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bank of Canada hikes interest rates again when she rolls through Toronto’s Rogers Centre in November 2024 to counter Swift’s tourflation.

Canadians are becomingly increasing sick of hearing about inflation and the rising interest rates that are so strongly bound to it. The cost of borrowing is high, which is doing nothing to help the nation’s affordable housing crisis. For manufacturers, it also makes borrowing money to purchase capital equipment more expensive over the lifetime of a loan.

Interest rates, inflation, and the rising costs of goods and services across the manufacturing sector are unsettling for business owners. They create an uncertain near-term economic outlook, which is a scary thing for any business.

Recently, the Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM), Windsor, Ont., surveyed its membership to take its sector’s temperature. The responses were as varied as the shops themselves.

When asked about the moldmaking industry’s current status, some respondents thought business was good and the industry was strong, while others indicated that the sector was slow. A common thread in the survey, however, showed that many companies are expecting at least some kind of windfall as the focus on EV technology increases.

One industry problem that is still hard to solve, and one the government can’t cure by raising interest rates, is finding skilled workers.

When CAMM asked its members about the challenges they are currently facing, one response remained consistent across the board: the inability to find qualified, skilled workers to fill empty positions.

This response was not surprising, because most sectors in the manufacturing industry are still experiencing a skilled labour shortage.

Governments typically only have a two-play playbook, tax it or wait and see. Neither of these strategies will help close the skills gap. The education system—both secondary and post-secondary schools—see this gap, but the wheels of change turn slowly, and time is needed for the next generation of students to be exposed to the challenges and rewards of advanced manufacturing.

The Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS) is being held this month at Toronto’s Congress Centre. I encourage you to spend some time there with some young people from your shop or family.

Manufacturers need to help drive interest in their own sector, and it starts at home.

Reposted from: https://www.canadianmetalworking.com/canadianmetalworking/blog/management/how-can-canada-close-its-skilled-trades-gap

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