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New website touts collaborative approach for addressing skilled labour shortages in Canada

Published by Derek Lothian on March 25, 2012

A new online tool connecting skilled workers, employers, industry groups, educational institutions and government is tackling fears of a looming labour crisis that is expected to produce up to 500,000 vacant jobs across the country over the next decade.

Launched on March 1, iCME.ca is the only national website of its kind, pairing candidate skill sets, education and practical experience with the specific needs of Canadian manufacturers and exporters.

"Attracting and retaining qualified employees is the most significant challenge jeopardizing economic growth," explains Jayson Myers, president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) –  the group spearheading the initiative. "And the gap will not be limited to any one sector. So it's critical we centralize our efforts to identify and promote these in-demand career opportunities to the next generation of Canada's workforce."

iCME.ca is more than just a jobs board; it is a comprehensive centre for both short-term and long-term employment solutions, from apprenticeship and skills training to Aboriginal inclusion and internationally trained workers.

Several major stakeholder groups have partnered to help launch the site, including Skills Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, as well as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

"We need to shift the conversation and start to develop a national strategy to address labour shortages," says Sarah Watts-Rynard, executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. "There is no one magic bullet. It will take a truly collaborative effort from all stakeholders in all regions of Canada. iCME.ca can be a catalyst for that dialogue."

While a majority of new jobs will rely upon skilled tradespeople – tens of thousands in Alberta's oil sands alone – the growth of global supply chains have created hundreds of new, innovative career paths in manufacturing, from environmental specialists and high-tech product engineers to logistics experts and international trade professionals.

“People and skills are the currency of Canada’s new economy,” says Caroline Tompkins, president of the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT). “We no longer can afford to do our own thing. We need to work together on developing tangible solutions, and translate good intentions into real benefits for Canadian companies.”    

Job seekers and employers alike can create customized profiles absolutely free. For more information, or to register, visit www.icme.ca.

Additional partner comments

"Immigration is playing an increasingly important role in our economy and we need a system that does a better job of attracting the people who have the skills that we need and getting them here quickly. One of the most important goals of our government this year is to make significant reforms to our economic immigration programs, precisely to address this issue."

The Honourable Jason Kenney
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Government of Canada

"These are the types of support services that companies like ours look for. The skilled staffing issue is becoming one of the biggest problems facing manufacturers in Canada. With iCME.ca, I will be much better able to compete in finding and keeping good people."

Lorne Janes
President (and Member of CME's National Board of Directors)
Continental Marble of Canada

"In a global marketplace, it is critical to come together as an industry and fully utilize our skilled workforce. SME is proud to partner with CME in launching iCME.ca. By providing a platform to marry our skilled workers with innovative companies, we will be able to meet the changing demands in manufacturing."

Debbie Holton
Director of Events and Industry Strategy
Society of Manufacturing Engineers

"The skills movement will necessitate the collaboration of all stakeholders in order to ensure a skilled Canadian workforce. Raising awareness of the need for skilled and qualified workers is just part of the answer; we need to make a concerted effort to link skilled individuals to prospective employers."

Shaun Thorson
Chief Executive Officer
Skills Canada

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