Skills Canada has been given a vote of confidence from the oil and gas industry.
The not-for-profit promoter of careers in skilled trades and technologies announced on November 13 that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has agreed to be a presenting sponsor for the 2013 Skills Canada National Competition to be hold in Vancouver, British Columbia from June 5-8, 2013.
“I think it validates the work that we’re doing,” said Shaun Thorson, CEO of Skills Canada.
“CAPP … sees that our event is really helping them solve some of the issues and helping them raise the awareness of skilled trades in their sector,” he added.
The obvious issue in need of a solution is the much-publicized skilled worker shortage facing the oil and gas industry.
“Our member companies are facing new and emerging challenges resulting from the growing shortage of skilled workers,” said CAPP spokesperson Travis Davies.
“We need to work with other industry leaders and organizations such as Skills Canada to attract more young Canadians into the skilled trades and provide more employment-based training opportunities,” he added. “Supporting the 2013 Skills Canada National Competition is an important event to help bring this critical issue to the forefront.”
Many of those shortages are in fields that Canadians may not generally associate with the oil and gas industry, such as electricians, mechanics and welders.
“The other aspect that they bring to it is that they do have a large membership,” Thorson said of CAPP. “And that will be beneficial for us as well because there’s an opportunity to create some dialogue with some of their membership. And talk about some of the issues that they’re facing so we can get a better sense of what they are facing out in industry, which would allow us to adapt or adjust or maybe even create some new programs to help them address those issues.
“And then you’re looking at trying to address those issues by sector as [opposed to] maybe one specific company’s challenge.”
The event features about 500 competitors representing all thirteen provinces and territories in Canada, and trades and technology careers that range from baking to plumbing to computer software applications.
“Those young people that are competing in different areas of expertise … will have an opportunity to network with representatives from business and industry,” said Thorson, discussing how the event can show young people the opportunities that exist in the energy sector.
“Those visiting students that will come to the competition site, that may have never had any exposure or visibility around skilled trades careers, they will have a chance to participate in Try-A-Trade and Technology activities,” he continued. “They can try some of those occupations at a very … introductory level.
“And many of those Try-A-Trade and Technology activities will be driven by [our] partners. [They] will have an opportunity to directly connect with young people and talk about their specific industry.”