Earlier this week, the ITA and its partners launched a new information campaign appropriately titled "Now's the Time," aimed at encouraging employers and apprentices to increase their focus on training during the economic downturn.
Counterintuitive though it may seem with all the other challenges businesses are currently facing, there has never been a greater need to invest in skills training.
By the time the recession of the early '80s was over, apprentice registrations in BC had declined from 16,000 to about 6,000. But while the recession is temporary, future labour shortages are looming on the horizon. It's estimated that by 2015, BC's demographics will result in a shortage of more than 110,000 skilled workers. It's clear that this time around, we must all work together to ensure we don't again lose a generation of apprentices that is so critical to our future competitiveness, productivity and prosperity.
With this new campaign, we are calling on employers to retain their current apprentices and even consider hiring new ones. And we're encouraging apprentices to take advantage of slower work conditions to catch up on technical training they may have postponed over the last few years of the economic boom.
We're collaborating with post-secondary trades training institutions to ensure we understand and are able to respond to the demand for in-school training during these uncertain times. And we're also working to ensure that apprentices don't face barriers to technical training continuation if they are experiencing a shortage of work-based training opportunities.
Economics are beyond our control, but how we react to economic situations is not. Now is the time to ride the economic roller coaster strategically. Let's take advantage of this time to get ahead of B.C.'s labour shortage by skilling up now to be ready for better economic times ahead.
I want to thank all our partners from industry, labour and the post-secondary institutions for coming together to get this important message out. I hope you'll take a few moments to visit our campaign website at www.nowsthetime.ca
and learn more.