The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce is working on a new plan to help integrate youth and students into the local workforce.
Through the Training and Employment Network (TEN), the chamber can receive up to $10,000 to develop a Community Action Plan which addresses gaps in the labour market and create opportunities for businesses and workers. The funding comes from Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce will administer it.
Executive Director Serena Sjodin says the chamber will primarily be focusing on building supports for youth and students workers and getting them connected to different resources.
“I’m envisioning this to be how we can work closer with our educational institutions and our business community to help bridge the communications for placement of practicum students. I’ve got a couple of other ideas for mentorship programs.”
She says the plan is still in the early stages of development, but under the current timeline programs are expected to be ready to launch by February or March.
TEN was developed by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce to provide support to communities and companies to integrate Indigenous, immigrant, youth, and women workers into the local workforce. Sjodin says the funding could be used to cover a wide-range of underrepresented workers, but some are already covered by other programs and organizations in the city.
“We already do the Indigenous Economic Partnership Summit which focuses heavily on the Indigenous workers profile. There are other organizations within Lloydminster like the local Immigration Partnership which focuses on newcomers.”
Ahead of the funding announcement, a TEN survey was sent out to businesses across the province from October 5 to 23, 2020. A total of 578 respondents completed the survey and 17.3 per cent, approximately 100, were completed by businesses in the Lloydminster area. Sjodin says they pushed the survey through their social media accounts as well as their weekly newsletter.
“I was very pleased that the business community took part in the survey. We had a very high response rate for our population and region from across the entire province of Saskatchewan. I was pleased with everybody’s engagement.”
Some of the findings shown in the survey include:
- 40 per cent of respondents say they are not currently hiring, but plan to hire in the next 3 years
- 31 per cent of respondents are currently hiring
- 43.3 per cent of respondents indicated that in general, their biggest barrier to hiring is lack of applicants with experience
- 26.1 per cent of respondents indicate lack of applicants with professional or soft skills
- 26 per cent of respondents indicate lack of applicants with technical skills
Other chambers participating in TEN include the Battlefords, Estevan, Humboldt, Kindersley, Moose Jaw, Nipawin, Prairie Sky (Warman and Martensville), Prince Albert, Swift Current, Yorkton and Weyburn.