Forestry sector representatives met with the federal and provincial governments today to discuss skilled-labour initiatives and human-resource planning, as part of a series of roundtables being held over coming months with sectors highlighted in the BC Jobs Plan.
The roundtables, co-hosted with industry associations and employers, aim to stimulate discussion and create awareness about how sectors can access skilled labour and satisfy human-resource requirements, as a result of an aging population. These demographic realities – together with economic growth – place significant pressure on key sectors to find innovative solutions to address skills shortages.
Participants were invited to share information and discuss the unique challenges in the forestry sector, specifically related to recruiting and training a qualified workforce, the promotion of B.C. export-ready products internationally, and identifying opportunities for growth.
This is another way government is working to provide employers and industry the opportunity to ask and respond to questions and inform the provincial and federal governments of key labour issues.
“Our government is always looking at ways we can better partner with industry to address the shifting needs of B.C.’s labour market. I would like to thank our valued stakeholders for taking the time to participate in this discussion, and look forward to our continued work together in an effort to best meet employer labour market needs.” stated Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“We appreciate government’s focus on skills training, as prompt action is required given the lead time needed to address the forest sector’s challenges in training our next generation of workers.” said Mike Cass, co-chair of the BC Forest Sector Workforce Initiative.
- B.C. has reached a tipping point where more B.C. residents are leaving the workforce than entering it.
- Through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the Province is helping British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for these job openings.
- Forestry is the main driver in more than 40% of regional economies in B.C., contributing $7 billion to the economy.
- The forestry sector employs over 60,000 British Columbians in areas such as forest management, silviculture and manufacturing.
- Close to 3,600 job openings are projected in the forest industry through to 2024, according to the Labour Market Outlook.
- The highest demand will be for logging machinery operators, truck drivers, hand fallers, and logging workers, with opportunity in over 26 other job areas – including those requiring higher levels of education, such as forestry professionals and technicians.