Business

Kootenay workforce table looks to address labour and skill shortages

Kootenay Regional Workforce Table Secretariat Manager, Leah Bradish, looks forward to working with diverse Table while exploring ways to fill labour shortages and skills gaps. - photo submitted
Kootenay Regional Workforce Table Secretariat Manager, Leah Bradish, looks forward to working with diverse Table while exploring ways to fill labour shortages and skills gaps.
— image credit: photo submitted

The Kootenay Regional Workforce Table, a regionally-driven group consisting of key leaders from the region, has been established.

Its purpose is to develop a Regional Skills Training Plan to address labour shortages and skills gaps. Table members include industry, employers, First Nations, educators, training service providers, economic development organizations and others from the East and West Kootenay Regions.

The aim of the Workforce Table is to establish how to best align training programs to meet regional needs. The Table will apply the knowledge and expertise of its members as well as input from stakeholder focus group sessions to identify economic development opportunities and to make recommendations on training programs to meet the demand for jobs in the area. Funding is provided through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement.

College of the Rockies director of Continuing Education, Contract Training and Regional Campus Operations, Leah Bradish is supporting the table as Secretariat Manager and East Kootenay Liaison.

“We are thrilled to have such a diverse Table with representatives from a wide range of industries, small business, First Nations, and service providers from all parts of the region,” she says.

Kootenay Regional Workforce Table chair, David Ridge of Fairmont Ridge Construction adds, “This is a very important initiative for meeting the skilled labour shortages throughout the region over the next 10 or more years. We will be holding focus group sessions in both the East and the West Kootenays to provide an opportunity for industry and community stakeholders to give input on labour force needs, training challenges and projected labour demands specific to the region.”

Supported by Columbia Basin Trust, focus groups will be taking place in a variety of East and West Kootenay locations in February and March. These groups will allow business and industries in the Kootenays to voice their concerns about labour force shortages and to provide any input or suggestions they may have. Though locations are not yet confirmed, focus groups will be held in the following sub-regions: (East) Elk Valley, Columbia Valley, Cranbrook/Kimberley, Creston Valley, (West) Boundary/Grand Forks, Trail/Castlegar, Slocan/Nakusp, Kootenay Lake/Nelson.

“These focus groups will be an important way for us to ensure wide representation across the region and that all industry and community voices are heard,” said chairman David Ridge. “The Table will be facilitating the research, focus groups, and development of the Regional Skills Training Plan.”

To learn more about the Kootenay Regional Workforce Table, contact the Secretariat Manager, Leah Bradish at 250-489-8286, or by email lbradish@cotr.bc.ca

 

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