How to Curb Youth Unemployment: Develop Essential Skills

National Skilled Trades and Technology Week Brings Together Students, Educators and Business in Curbing the Skills-Employer Mismatch 

TORONTO, ONTARIO, November 5, 2013 – Today, Skills/Compétences Canada launched National Skilled Trades and Technology Week, encouraging youth to consider careers in skilled trades and technology.  The not-for-profit organization believes that the existing mismatch between skills and jobs in Canada presents an opportunity for young students to align their education of skills with specific industry needs.

At an event today at Centennial College, 300 local students took part in interactive Try-a-Trade® and Technology activities and workshops.  Many other activities aimed at engaging young Canadians to consider skilled trades are taking place throughout the country this week.

“In this current economy where there’s a high rate of youth unemployment, high school students have to be especially proactive regarding their curriculum choices,” said Shaun Thorson, CEO of Skills/Compétences Canada, while at the National Skilled Trades and Technology Week launch event today.

This year’s theme, Essential Skills, speaks to the importance of nine skills identified by Employment and Social Development Canada(ESDC) as critical to a successful career in skilled trades and technology.

“Our industry partners in energy, natural resources, construction, manufacturing and services sectors are reporting that too many young workers are showing up at the job site without the proficiency of skills that is required to complete the work,” said Thorson. “It’s a huge economic concern.”

Many students are choosing to opt out of foundational courses, such as math, science and literature, far too early in the education process, he said. When dropping these courses, many young people and their parents may not realize that they are jeopardizing their career choices.

“There’s a misconception among students – and even guidance counsellors – that it’s okay to skip the advanced math and English courses if students are bound for the trades,” said Ann Buller, President and CEO of Centennial College. “Yet, cars today have more computing power on board than the system that guided Apollo astronauts to the moon. Technicians have to diagnose and resolve issues with sophisticated computer systems quickly and accurately. That only happens when the technician has a thorough understanding of the science at work under the hood.”

About Skills/Compétences Canada: Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not‐for‐profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. For information on Skills Canada’s programs and competitions, including the 2014 Skills Canada National Competition June 4-7 in Toronto, visit www.skillscanada.com.

 

-30-

NATIONAL MEDIA CONTACT: Caroline McGrath, CMM Communications Group (for Skills/Compétences Canada)

Email: caroline@cmm-communications.com   Tel: 416-972-1642