July 12, 2012
Invest in PEI's workforce - Letter to the Editor (The Guardian)
Some of the fastest growing jobs have yet to be identified. The term "new job” is changing: it can refer to a job that did not previously exist, or a job that carries the same name but requires different skills. In either case, the need for skilled employees to fill these positions is increasing.
"Competition for skilled workers is heating up,” says Catherine O'Bryan, Executive Director of the PEI Literacy Alliance. "PEI needs to attract quality employees with good benefit plans, profit sharing, stock options, etc.”
A recent survey of Canadian companies found that 2/3 of executives report difficulty finding qualified employees. 1/3 say the labour shortage is already preventing their company from growing more quickly. 89% of executives said increased spending in skills training and apprenticeships should be a budget priority for the government. O'Bryan encourages the PEI government to adopt this priority.
"Businesses should be engaged in promoting skills development,” says Craig Alexander, Chief Economist at TD Bank Financial Group. "This could be done by helping to fund skills training for employees. Businesses should champion literacy as a key economic policy priority,” he emphasizes. "It is good for Canadians and it is good for the bottom line.”
Small businesses may feel this is too much to ask. Studies have shown that cost is not the main barrier to employee skills development. In many cases, people who need additional training have difficulty balancing work and life responsibilities. Employers can offer workplace flexibility to encourage participation in essential skills training.
On September 21, 2012 the PEI Literacy Alliance will celebrate Essential Skills Day to raise awareness of the importance of the nine essential skills. For more information on essential skills contact the Alliance at 368-3620.
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My name is Terry Affleck and I learned to read at the age of 63 and today at 65 I am enrolled at Holland College to prepare for my GED. More...
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