26 July 2006
Alberta looks for 86,000 skilled workers
The Canadian province of Alberta needs to find an estimated minimum of 86,000 skilled workers to fill expected labour shortages over the next decade, a government report has said.
Over the same period Alberta's growing economy is expected to create close to 400,000 jobs, but currently only about 300,000 new workers are expected to enter the labour market, leaving a shortfall that may be as high as 100,000 workers.
Albertans are already experiencing acute labour shortages and the provincial government has warned that the problem will reach unprecedented proportions unless steps are taken now to develop skills in the existing workforce and attract more new migrants.
Despite the shortages, immigration levels in Alberta are relatively low, receiving approximately just seven per cent of all immigrants to Canada, even though its population accounts for 10 per cent of Canada’s population.
Amongst the occupations expected to be in high demand are carpenters with an estimated shortfall of over 3,000, electrical trades and telecommunications related workers (3,500) and plumbers, pipe fitters and gas fitters (1,700).
Taking heed of its own warnings, the Alberta government has released its long-term labour force development strategy, which outlines a number of ways government and organizations can work together to meet skill and labour shortages and ensure the province remains globally competitive.
The strategy, entitled 'Building and Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce', is based on extensive consultations with Albertans and stakeholders held in winter 2006. More than 350 online responses were received, and more than 60 group presentations were held.
Its key aims are to:
- Work with partners to recognize the credentials, competencies, prior learning and work experience of immigrants and inter-provincial migrants.
- Work with the federal government and other stakeholders to simplify and speed up the immigration and temporary worker processes.
- Develop a co-ordinated marketing strategy to increase awareness about Alberta and position the province as a ‘destination of choice’ for immigrants.
- Work to improve the labour mobility of Canadians and demonstrate job and business opportunities in Alberta to Canadians.
"Without the right people with the right training in the right jobs, Alberta is not going to be able to manage its economic growth," said Alberta Human Resources and Employment Minister Mike Cardinal.
"Clearly, with more than 86,000 additional Alberta workers needed over the next 10 years, we must take steps now to ensure that we have a common plan - with our partners - for building Alberta's workforce. This strategy is about the leadership that is needed to make sure we are all moving in the same direction."
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