Labour shortage a ‘society’ problem: APEGGA

As an engineer, Jim Smith trusts numbers. And he thinks numbers suggest a solution to Alberta’s looming labour shortage.

As an engineer, Jim Smith trusts numbers. And he thinks numbers suggest a solution to Alberta’s looming labour shortage.

President of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA), Smith noted that there’s currently 3.3 Canadians available for every posted job opening.

“You don’t need a calculator to figure out that three is greater than one,” he said. “You’ve got lots of people, so why are we having a labour shortage?”

The problem rests with the locations and skills of those people, the latter of which could be addressed.

Smith said he has spoken with the deans of the engineering faculties at the universities of Calgary and Alberta. Both acknowledged that they turn down hundreds of applicants who would be good students but fail to make the enrolment cut.

“We’re not in a position to offer these young people opportunities to grow and develop, yet we’re complaining about not having enough people to work in the industry.”

Students also encounter problems prior to post-secondary education, suggested Smith.

He described how APEGGA is involved in a pilot project in Calgary where its members work with students in grades 10 to 12. Young people who struggle in traditional classrooms thrive when they understand the practical applications of what they’re learning.

Smith also pointed out that more than 80 per cent of graduates remain close to where they went to school.

It makes sense, therefore, to offer industry-relevant training near where the jobs exist.

He doesn’t think industry, educators and government are working closely enough to find solutions.

“The challenge we have is it’s not an educators’ problem, it’s not an industry problem, it’s not a problem of students — it’s a society problem, and we don’t have any leadership to move this whole thing forward.”

APEGGA is working to attract more aboriginals to the professions it represents. But until educational capacity increases, many of the young people who respond won’t be able to access the related training.

Smith was in Central Alberta on Monday, speaking with industry officials and taking part in an APEGGA dinner in Red Deer.

A resident of Grande Prairie, he worked for Weyerhaeuser for 32 years before retiring nine years ago.

APEGGA is a self-regulated professional association with more than 63,000 members.

Just Posted

Thousands of Albertans flock to Westerner Days on last day

Central Albertans took advantage of Sunday’s sunshine and flocked to Westerner Days… Continue reading

Former Humboldt Broncos player who survived bus crash hopes for spot on team

RED DEER, Alta. — A former Humboldt Broncos player whose back was… Continue reading

Man and dog dead after early morning house fire in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Officials say a man and a dog are dead… Continue reading

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

OTTAWA — The federal government is fighting a proposed class-action lawsuit against… Continue reading

May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate

OTTAWA — With three months until Canadians vote in the next federal… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

TORONTO — The names of the two people killed in a shooting… Continue reading

Relief in sight for southeastern Canada following weekend heat wave

MONTREAL — Relief is in sight for sweltering Canadians after a weekend… Continue reading

Trudeau’s former right-hand adviser playing role in Liberal election campaign

OTTAWA — With three months to go now until the election, the… Continue reading

Hotels face battle over whether to help US house migrants

DETROIT — There’s a new target in the clash over immigration: hotels.… Continue reading

Thousands visit Illinois governor mansion after renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Thousands of people have visited the Illinois governor’s mansion… Continue reading

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

VANCOUVER — High school students in Canada may not be getting the… Continue reading

‘Us and them’: influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government

MONTREAL — Last March, Quebec Premier Francois Legault made a mocking remark… Continue reading

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how… Continue reading

Most Read