A new study released by industry regulator HRPA
has offered recommendations on how Ontario can build a highly-skilled workforce and ensure a talent pipeline for the future.
The report – Strengthening Ontario's Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow – was developed in conjunction with Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets and calls on the government to take action.
According to the study, fostering greater collaboration between industry, government and post-secondary institutions is essential to building a highly skilled workforce in the province and facilitating ongoing economic growth.
"This is an absolutely critical issue for our members, for our economy, and our future prosperity," said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of HRPA. "More collaboration, communication and cooperation between industry, educators and government is essential to creating a stronger workforce, and a more competitive economy."
The HRPA's paper reveals that only 43 per cent of HR professionals feel the employees they hired in the past year were adequately prepared by their pre-hire education and training for the jobs they take on.
The worrying statistic indicates a vast gap between the skills taught in Ontario and those in demand by an ever-shifting economy.
To combat the disconnect, HRPA recommends educators work more closely with businesses to stay on top of current industry needs, revising curriculums to teach students skills they can use in the job market setting.
The paper also underscores the importance of on-the-job training, calling on businesses to invest further in worker training, and recommends the government search for ways to reduce training costs to ensure workers learn essential skills throughout their careers.
Colleges and universities need to work more closely together too, according to the paper, which points to a German model of dual post-secondary systems that combine academic and on-the-job training.
"Ontario is moving in this direction with Articulation Agreements, and offers numerous collaborative and joint degree programs," noted Greenhalgh. "The province should look to expand these programs and promote them with high-school students.”
According to the HRPA, the report’s recommendations would help provide academic and real-world skills to young people while helping businesses grow and remain competitive.