The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce is working with key stakeholders and a consultant for a labour market needs assessment for the Parksville Qualicum Beach region. The assessment is looking at the different sectors in the region which includes construction/trades/automotive sector, health and social services sector, accommodations and food sector, goods/manufacturing sector and the services-related sector. — Lauren Collins photo

Project aimed at fulfilling Parksville Qualicum Beach employers’ needs

Parksville chamber working with stakeholders for labour market needs assessment

The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce is working with a number of key groups to assess employers’ needs in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

Parksville chamber executive director Kim Burden said he was speaking with staff at the Career Centre when they expressed a need for more data in regards to what local employers’ needs are.

The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce is working with key stakeholders to conduct a Labour Market Needs Assessment for the Parksville Qualicum Beach region. Key stakeholders include the Career Centre, Community Futures, Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association, Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, Regional District of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island University.

“We started to put our heads together to figure out how we would get that,” said Burden, adding that the chamber put a proposal together for the Ministry of Social Services and Poverty Reduction for a funding grant.

He said the proposal was to get some data in place, so that “we would be able to move forward on trying to help our employers with some of their human resource issues.”

Burden said the chamber received $60,000 in funding for a six-month program. From there, it hired a consulting firm to gather data to provide a report for implementation.

“We don’t want just a report, we want to make sure that we get some action out of it as well,” he said.

TaylorMade Learning Solutions Inc. is conducting the assessment across the private and public sectors.

Sharon deLure, managing director of TaylorMade Learning Solutions, said secondary research for the project is nearly complete. The secondary research, she said, involved compiling research statistics together for the region.

One of the reports she’s looked at, deLure said, is the B.C. Care Provider Association’s 2018 report, which states there are an “insufficient number of care workers.”

“It really speaks to this labour market issue, and I don’t think you would find the issues that much different than when you look at the accommodations and food sector or the construction sector,” she said.

The primary research, currently underway, consists of meeting and talking directly with as many employers as possible in the region, deLure said.

There were five discussion groups scheduled (health and social services sector, construction/trades/automotive sector, accommodations and food sector, goods/manufacturing sector and services-related sector), but deLure said all but one of the discussion groups has been cancelled.

The health and social services discussion sector, deLure said, was “very productive” and “very insightful.”

People are welcome to contact deLure at sharon@taylormadesolutions.ca to discuss the different sectors. deLure said TaylorMade Learning Solutions is currently in negotiations with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce to use its survey/discussion tool MindReader. The platform, deLure said, allows the B.C. chamber to “to engage employers in the province around key priority topic areas.”

Those who wish may register to use the MindReader tool at www.bcmindreader.com.

“It’s a really great, quick and easy way for people to give feedback to the province, because that information is then sent back to the provincial government so that they have bit of an ear to the ground about what employers in B.C. are saying about top of mind issues related to being an employer in B.C.”

The purpose of the Labour Market Needs Assessment, according to the project plan, is to “better understand the labour market of the region with its primary focus being on the demand/employer side of the equation.”

The assessment results will help to identify regional opportunities, skill gaps and training and education requirements for the future.

One of the purposes of the project, Burden said, is to encourage youth to live and work in the region.

“We have a hard time keeping youth here, so we want to look at what skill sets we can provide to them, either through the secondary or the post-secondary institutions, to assist them in being qualified for the jobs that are here,” Burden said. “They’re not all service sector; there is a number of different areas in our community that are under-addressed in terms of skill set.”

Send story tips to: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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