A skilled workforce is essential to a strong economy. A skills gap occurs when employer needs don’t match the education and skills that students and the broader workforce have. Research by the Conference Board of Canada shows the skills gap costs Ontario over $24 billion a year – around 4.0% of their entire economy.
Last week, the Province of Manitoba announced the first review of college education in a decade. This review will look at how to enhance not only individual colleges, but the entire system. Higher Education Strategy Associated has been contracted to complete the review, and they have reached out to the Winnipeg Chamber to provide input.
In Manitoba BOLD, the Winnipeg Chamber advocated for closer ties between educational institutions and industry. Building on that, the Chamber advocated for colleges to be given the ability to more quickly implement different programs and courses to fit industry needs, and to focus learning outcomes on market demand. Those themes will continue to feature prominently in the Chamber’s contribution to the provincial review.
In a rapidly changing global economy, it is imperative that educational institutions remain flexible to meet the changing needs of industry. It is estimated that 65% of children entering elementary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist. To prepare our students and the workforce of tomorrow, we must ensure industry and colleges work closer than ever before.