Red River College President Stephanie Forsyth was among the leaders in education, industry and government who met last week to help ensure the province meets its target of adding 75,000 new workers to the labour market by 2020.
Forsyth and Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, served as co-chairs of the summit, which was hosted by the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council, and attended by representatives from business, labour, and education and training.
Discussions were focused on five themes:
- Training more young people for the jobs of tomorrow;
- Connecting more Manitobans with trades training;
- Growing Manitoba’s successful immigration strategy;
- Building Manitoba’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit workforce; and
- Ensuring every Manitoban who faces barriers to working has access to training and employment
When the skills summit was announced last November as part of the provincial throne speech, it was roundly applauded as a good idea, in particular by employers who remain concerned not only about the ongoing skilled labour shortage, but also about finding the right skilled workers to fill positions.
Earlier this year, Forysth told the Winnipeg Free Press there’s a mismatch in the market, with too many graduates seeking work in fields where there are no jobs, and not enough entering those areas with healthy employment prospects.
“There are recent studies that show on a ratio of six to one college grads are required over university grads to fill shortages in advanced skills,” she said. “We have got to change the mindset of people like me and others in my generation that university is the only way to go.”