In 2020, BC’s value-added wood sector was experiencing a number of key workforce challenges that were impacting employer profitability, including acute labour shortages, a lack of diversity and advancement and training opportunities. The BC Wood Specialties Group Association (“BC Wood”), a non-profit trade association representing the BC value-added wood products industry, engaged Deetken Insight to develop a workforce development plan to help employers address their most pressing workforce issues. This plan built on the findings from a labour market information study completed by Deetken.
Deetken conducted extensive interviews with stakeholders across the industry, including large, small and medium-sized employers, employees, training providers, career influencers, First Nations employment programming experts and other industry groups, and relied on guidance from an active industry-led advisory group. Based on this research, we delivered to BC Wood a three-year Workforce Development Strategic Plan recommending four key strategies to ensure the sector has the workforce it needs to flourish:
- Awareness and communication activities – Lead communication activities to raise awareness of career opportunities in the value-added wood sector and to attract more workers into the sector, including from target groups.
- Work-ready Training – Develop a work-ready training initiative to prepare workers to enter employment in the sector.
- Skilled Worker Training – Enhance training for skilled production workers and provide employers with just-in-time training supports.
- Workforce Development Supports – Help employers access workforce development supports and leverage best practices.
In December 2021, BC Wood published the plan and it is already generating discussion within the industry around the need for pilot projects and further training and education.
For more about Deetken Insight’s labour market work, visit https://deetken.com/insight/.