Executive Council
Human Resources, Labour and Employment
April 26, 2007

A Vision to Empower People Actions to Support a Skilled Workforce

The Williams Government will invest $6.7 million in Budget 2007 to help people take advantage of new opportunities in the area of skilled trades and to ensure a highly-qualified workforce to meet industry demands.

"There are tremendous opportunities on the horizon for this province, from large-scale development projects to new construction to investments in infrastructure," said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. "We are making significant investments to make sure we have an educated, highly-qualified, skilled workforce to meet the labour market demands associated with this increased economic activity."

Premier Williams, along with the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, and the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education, today announced a number of new measures to increase labour market participation, address the skills gap and increase prospects for people.

"I believe our government, in partnership with business, labour and community groups, has a critical role to play in helping people connect to today�s changing labour market," said Minister Skinner. "Budget 2007 contains a series of new measures to give more people access to relevant and current information on the labour market and help them chart their course for education, training and employment."

The issue of skill shortages in the province is evident given the increased number of available jobs going unfilled and increased competition for existing talent from other parts of Canada. The Provincial Government is investing $3.9 million in Budget 2007 to expand career and employment services. This includes:

Expanding Career and Employment Services

  • $979,600 to expand the delivery of career and employment service outreach in rural areas by establishing five new Career Information Resource Centres to provide career, work and labour market information and support to individuals and employers;
  • $1,154,300 to implement employment and business development projects in rural areas of the province to enable people to participate in the labour market;
  • $1,060,000 to expand the Graduate Retention Program to help an additional 100 graduates strengthen their attachment to the labour market within the province and address critical employer skill shortages;
  • $500,000 to hire 10 career information officers to work with teachers, guidance counselors and students in the K-12 system to identify career information and labour market trends and provide career education supports; and,
  • $200,000 to continue to provide career transition services for affected plant workers in Fortune and Marystown.
  • Improving the Skills Training and Apprenticeship System

    The Provincial Government recognizes that people can make better informed decisions regarding their future when they understand the needs of today�s labour market. The Provincial Government is taking steps to ensure that education, training and work experience opportunities are increasingly accessible to enable people to complete their learning plan. This requires renewed investment in the province�s skills training and apprenticeship system.

    There are currently 3,800 registered apprentices active in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, there is an increasing demand for skilled tradespersons due to developments in the province�s energy, mining and industrial sectors.

    "We are working to make our post-secondary system more responsive to the needs of our students and to the emerging needs of industry," said Minister Burke. "The Skills Task Force, initiated by our government, brought together a partnership of business, labour, government, post-secondary institutions and other key stakeholder groups, to identify needs and ensure a responsive training system. While this work progresses, the measures outlined in Budget 2007 are geared to help provide skilled workers where and when needed."

    In support of the Skills Task Force, the Provincial Government is investing $2.8 million in Budget 2007 to improve the responsiveness of the skills training and apprenticeship system in the province. This includes:

  • $660,000 to expand post-secondary programming in skilled trades and technology offerings at the College of the North Atlantic to meet the increased demand for skilled workers in key sectors of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy;
  • $567,000 for national apprenticeship standards including $200,000 to introduce standardized examinations, $115,000 to support a new cycle of program accreditation, $105,000 to establish a standards unit, $86,000 for development of study guides and examination materials, and $61,000 to enhance the use of prior learning assessment for trade qualifiers;
  • $496,000 to strengthen the participation of women, Aboriginal persons and youth in apprenticeship system including $200,000 to expand the number of female apprentices, $200,000 to support increased participation of Aboriginal peoples in the skilled trades and $96,000 to introduce a youth apprenticeship program in the K-12 system;
  • $600,000 cost-shared between the Departments of Education and Transportation and Works to increase the number of new apprentices hired annually within the public sector;
  • $240,000 to deliver the power engineering program, develop new training standards and provide resources to the public college to enable coordination and facilitation of examinations for power engineering students;
  • $100,000 to establish an Industrial Coordinating Committee to serve to identify specific skill sets required by industry in the province;
  • $80,000 to undertake a Gender Employment Equity Study to provide recommendations on how to improve female recruitment across the forestry sector; and,
  • $75,000 to establish 25 scholarships of $1,000 each to encourage youth participating in the Youth Apprenticeship Program to continue their studies at the post-secondary level and 25 scholarships of $2,000 to establish a Post-Secondary Transition Awards Program for recent Adult Basic Education graduates commencing a full-time post-secondary program.
  • "The competition for skilled labour is being felt across the country," said Premier Williams. "Our government is making significant investments in our training system and in our students to fill the current gaps in the labour force and to make sure we have the skilled people to continue to grow the economy here in Newfoundland and Labrador."

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    Media contacts:

    Elizabeth Matthews
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Premier
    709-729-3960, 351-1227
    Ed Moriarity
    Director of Communications
    Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
    709-729-4062, 728-9623
    Jacquelyn Howard
    Director of Communications
    Department of Education
    709-729-0048, 689-2624


    2007 04 26                                                    2:15 p.m.

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