Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
November 15, 2019

Provincial Government Launches The Way Forward on Workforce Development

The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, today launched The Way Forward on Workforce Development - the Provincial Government’s plan for strengthening the province’s workforce and supporting a productive, knowledge-based economy. Minister Mitchelmore was joined by the Honourable Brian Warr, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, and students and staff of Indian River High School in Springdale who are exploring first-hand the value of skilled trades.

Newfoundland and Labrador is competing for talent nationally and globally. As the provincial economy evolves, the province must determine how our population and labour supply will meet existing labour demands, as well as those of the future. The Way Forward on Workforce Development outlines four focus areas, including 36 actions to strengthen the growth of the economy and strengthen the province’s workforce beginning in the K-12 education system and continuing throughout the working lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Supported by approximately $25 million in government funding, the plan provides an understanding of current labour demands and identifies potential skills gaps and future opportunities for economic growth. It also considers the unique employment needs of Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, youth, older workers, women and newcomers to the province.

Through collaboration with industry, labour, and education sectors, government has committed to continued investment to grow the provincial economy, including sustainable employment opportunities that are matched with a skilled workforce. This growth requires access to reliable and up-to-date labour market information that can help people make informed decisions.

Today, the ministers met with grade 10 and 11 students who are currently taking a design and fabrication course. The students are learning about skilled trades first-hand, and the ministers spoke to the students about the important role the province’s youth play in shaping the future workforce. Through the Workforce Development Plan, government has identified key actions it will take in partnership with industries and stakeholders to prepare the province for future labour market opportunities.

Specific actions related to K-12 education include:

  • Engage in discussions on how stakeholders can influence and support career-related activities in the secondary school system, including the redeveloped career education curricula, as well as develop sector-specific labour market information for inclusion in the career education curricula; and,
  • Dedicate resources to work with the K-12 school system to provide relevant career development supports.

Actions in The Way Forward on Workforce Development that aim to better prepare individuals for skills and training needs, better inform and share labour market information, and better support workers and employers to create matches to meet the skills demands of the labour market include:

  • Develop an online human resources tool for small and medium-sized employers to support recruitment and retention efforts;
  • Work with stakeholders to develop modules to support employers in managing diverse workplaces; including supporting newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, women, youth and older workers in achieving their maximum potential;
  • Through the federally funded Women in Trades program, in collaboration with the Atlantic Apprenticeship Authorities, develop programs and resources to address gender bias and build cultural competence in a construction trades context;
  • Develop regionally tailored workforce development action plans;
  • Research local skills needs of youth entering the workforce for the first time; as well as mid-career for older workers, especially in light of changing technologies and the increase of social media in today’s business environment;
  • Develop a presentation series to highlight immigration as an option for filling skills gaps, spotlight employer successes, and share information on best practices; and,
  • Explore the creation of a virtual support that assists in matching users (e.g., employers, job seekers, non-profits) with available programs and services through government’s Digital by Design initiative. 

The plan was developed based upon engagement with key stakeholders such as industry, labour, government and academia.  Further focused engagement sessions are planned for the coming months with organizations representing the needs of Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, youth, older workers, women and newcomers to the province.

To view the complete plan, visit The Way Forward on Workforce Development PDF Icon.

The Way Forward on Workforce Development complements other efforts in support of economic diversification and private sector employment growth, including the Cabinet Committee on Jobs. The plan also delivers on commitments in The Way Forward’s Business Innovation Agenda to strengthen the province’s economic foundation. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified economy and can be viewed at

“All of us have a role to play in supporting the workforce of today, tomorrow, and the future. I could think of no better place to launch our workforce development plan than at a high school where students are beginning to make decisions about their future role in the workplace. In order to grow the economy and retain our workforce, it is important that we have access to reliable labour market information that allows us to predict job opportunities, training needs and skill gaps of the future. The Way Forward on Workforce Development is our government’s plan for how we can best work in partnership, focus our efforts, and support job creation and economic growth.”
Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour

“We want to help students make informed career decisions by empowering them with labour market information at different stages of their education. Under the Workforce Development Plan, sector specific labour market information will be developed and resources dedicated to work with the K-12 school system to provide relevant career development supports. Such actions will contribute to the individual success of students and the overall success of our province.”
Honourable Brian Warr
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development  

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Learn more
The Way Forward on Workforce Development PDF Icon

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Media contacts
Ryan Crocker
Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
709-729-1795, 725-9595

Tina Coffey
Education and Early Childhood Development
709-729-1906, 687-9903

2019 11 15                              9:50 a.m.