TIMMINS, ON: The Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy that was approved as part of the Ontario budget represents a step in the right direction in addressing the province’s skills mismatch. Approved earlier this week, the strategy focuses on employment, entrepreneurship and innovation for youth in Ontario.
“Helping youth train for and gain meaningful employment is a government priority that aligns well with the activities of Northern College,” said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “Colleges will play a central part in the province’s strategy to help young people acquire the skills and qualifications they require to meet labour market demands.”
The skills mismatch is the divide between the skills and credentials held by people looking for work and the qualifications sought by employers. Growing numbers of people – particularly young people – are unable to find work because they don’t have the right education and training. The problem is expected to get worse as new technology and innovations transform the economy and create increasing demands for a more highly skilled workforce.
The government has acknowledged the Youth Jobs Strategy, which was the centerpiece of this year’s budget, must help address the mismatch. Referring to the Youth Jobs Strategy, Premier Kathleen Wynne said recently, “We need to make sure that we are providing training programs in areas where there actually are jobs.”
Career-focused programs at Ontario’s 24 public colleges will be particularly important to the success of the strategy. The implementation of the strategy should include measures to encourage more people to pursue higher education, including apprenticeship training. The province should also strengthen its credit-transfer system for post-secondary students, to help more people get a combination of both university and college education.
“Applied learning and career-focused training have been the strength of a college education that continues to provide graduates with access to meaningful work,” said Gibbons. “We look forward to working with the provincial government to help Ontario address the skills mismatch.”
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