The global pandemic has resulted in millions of jobs lost, whole industries changed forever, and a workforce and employers who may be struggling to keep up with rapidly evolving skills-requirements and adapting to an increasingly digitized world of work. These factors can create barriers between those looking to hire and job seekers looking to enter, re-enter and/or progress in the workforce of 2021+.
During the pandemic, many employees have been laid-off from jobs in industries, such as retail, leisure and tourism, etc., that will not be rehiring, or will require employees to have a different skill set. Research by McKinsey & Company found that compared to before the pandemic, 25% more workers may need to switch occupations, and Randstad’s Skilling Today survey reported that nearly 70% of HR professionals now ask or require employees to upskill or reskill to meet changing business needs. Yet most companies only offer training opportunities to team leads, managers and/or high-potential employees, leaving others to fend for themselves.
The current rate of upskilling and reskilling would take decades to prepare job seekers to enter the workforce, which by then would have a very different outlook of the future of work. Thus, it is imperative for job seekers and employees to take advantage of opportunities to re-skill and for employers, government, community agencies, and post-secondary institutions to provide those opportunities.
Reskilling for Greater Prosperity dives into the topic of how re-skilling and upskilling initiatives can help employers and communities combat skill gaps for now and years to come. Introduced by Luke Nixon-Janssen, Director, Marketing & Business Development, Magnet and moderated by Chantal Brine, CEO, EnPoint, the event featured panelists:
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the session to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
Workforce Trends & Programs that Respond
2. What is the most memorable “success story” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/group has contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
In the thick of the pandemic, reskilling programs responded to immediate disruptions in the workforce where individuals were displaced out of careers and industries, such as leisure and hospitality. This is seen even with some of our panelists, who spent years in their industries but then had to pivot careers. In contrast, the already high demand for talent in some industries was further exacerbated by Covid-19. Below are some lessons learned and success stories discussed by our panelists:
CASTL’s Reskilling Program is a 12-week program that includes 8 weeks of training and 4 weeks of on-the-job training (OJT) placement with large, medium and small employers across the province. The program started with one pilot cohort and is now in their third cohort. By evaluating the pilot, CASTL identified their top lessons learned:
3. In your view, what do you see as the primary role that each of us has to play in building future ready communities?
Building a sense of community for all
Building the confidence to pursue your passions
4. BONUS Audience Question: From the perspective of someone considering reskilling and/or switching career paths, is there any advice that you would give to help them find the right program for them?
5. What are some resources, books, Ted Talks, or podcasts, that have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
The underlying themes discussed by our panelists were having passion for what you do, connecting with your community, making the most out of networking and mentorship opportunities, and recognizing the importance of confidence to help you navigate your career.
Your community is an ecosystem of support; the organizations, associations, chambers, and entrepreneurs are there to help all who are looking to reskill, upskill, or pivot their careers. You don’t know what you don’t know, but your community can show you a path that is available that you might not quite see yet because you are still in transition or building your confidence. We all play a role in preparing for and building a future of work where everyone can prosper together and pay forward the support we receive.
Guiding discussion questions:
About the panelists:
Wendy McIsaac, Program Director, Canadian Alliance for Skills & Training in Life Sciences (CASTL)
Wendy McIsaac is passionate about people, education, public policy, and lifelong learning. During her career, she has worked in the not-for-profit, public, and education sectors in varying roles including Public School Teacher, Adult Educator, Human Resources Manager, Senior Policy Advisor, Client Services Director, and Chief Administrative Officer. Wendy has demonstrated success in leading initiatives in education, strategic planning, human resource management, public policy development, legislative implementation, and governance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Studies, a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in English from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in Education from St. Mary’s University. Wendy is also an avid baker and emerging writer. Her writing has been featured on CBC and in various literary journals. She also proudly represented PEI on season two of CBC TV’s “Great Canadian Baking Show” after being chosen as one of Canada’s top ten self-taught bakers.
Canadian Alliance for Skills & Training in Life Sciences (CASTL)
The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) provides world-class technical skills development and training in life sciences specializing in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. An initiative of the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance, it is a unique partnership between academia, industry, and government to address the future skills needs of Canada’s fast-growing bioscience sector.
CASTL delivers on the economic demand for individuals who are work-ready to enter, thrive and meet the needs of the Canadian bioscience industry. CASTL offers multiple applied learning streams and pathways for individuals to acquire the hands-on technical training, theoretical knowledge, and professional skills to have a successful career in life sciences.
In addition to her formal education in business administration, Judith brings over twelve years’ experience in project and event management, with seven years experience focused on the philanthropic and non-profit industries. As a Project Manager for Digital Nova Scotia, Judith manages two career-building programs designed to support the demand for talent in our province. She is responsible for the developing, planning and implementation of these online programs for upskilling and training participants who are looking to build a career within the digital workforce for entry level positions.
Get Into IT is designed to support those who have traditionally faced barriers entering the tech sector in Nova Scotia. It provides digital training and professional tools for upskilling learners from underrepresented communities in tech. Building off the success of the Skills for Hire program, Skills for Hire Atlantic will expand its virtual programs across the four Atlantic provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. It will train 1500 participants over the course of three years.
Judith has managed an Energy Innovation Project in support of the Paris Agreement mandate, helping indigenous communities to create and execute clean energy missions. She has been involved with trade missions and has managed matchmaking, logistics, and organization for trade missions in-bound and to South East Asia, the Caribbean, EU, and Greenland. Judith was born in Mexico and raised in a family that valued diversity, culture and world travel. She has been proud to call Nova Scotia home for over twenty-two years.
Digital Nova Scotia
Digital Nova Scotia’s mission is to foster the growth of the digital economy in Nova Scotia. Their programs, events, and opportunities enable them to connect their digital community and proudly promote its successes. Through skills development, capacity building, industry events, strong partnerships and the promotion of IT opportunities, they are supporting their sector as it continues to grow, evolve and thrive.
Digital Nova Scotia is a membership-driven organization. Their members range from startups and SME’s to large multinational corporations, universities and colleges, government, and non-profits. They pride themselves on connections. Connecting industry leaders through networking events and roundtable discussions, connecting industry with talent through our opportunities portal, and connecting with national organizations to increase the profile of our sector and province.
Bill DeBlois, 1st Vice President, The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce
Bill is the current owner and operator of Buns and Things Bakery in Charlottetown, PEI. He attended Business Administration: Automotive Marketing program at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario before completing his Bachelor of Business degree at the University of Western Sydney in Australia in 2004.
Over the course of his professional career he has worked in the automotive industry from the dealership level to corporate finance with Mercedes Benz Financial before settling back into the private sector working for a collector car dealer, Legendary Motorcar, buying and selling specialty cars. In 2014, Bill along with his wife Michelle made the decision to move back to Prince Edward Island where he got involved in the family business, Buns and Things Bakery, which has been family owned/operated since 1987 and completing the purchase of the business in 2017. It was also when he joined the Board of Directors with the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and is currently serving on the Executive Committee as 1st Vice President.
Buns and Things Bakery is a locally owned and operated bakery and deli which has been owned by the DeBlois Family since 1987. Specializing in fresh made products 7 days a week, Buns and Things is a busy retail store while also providing wholesale products to local restaurants. In 2020 the decision was made to expand the business to include a stand alone cake and specialty treats store, Cakes by Buns and Things. Employs approx 30-35 employees year round in roles ranging from retail sales, bakers, decorators, packagers, delivery drivers and part time students.
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) is proud to be Prince Edward Island’s largest business advocacy organization committed to supporting and connecting our business members.
Today, their diverse network of businesses represents almost every industry sector and business profession. With more than 1,100 business members, and their more than 20,000+ employees, the Chamber’s united voice draws attention to local business needs. They know there are real issues affecting your business and our communities!