Dave Beaton, left, director of programming for Holland College, Birt MacKinnon, director Skills Canada, and Tina Mundy, Holland College student services and support department, discuss the new Canada Job Fund agreement signed at the college’s Summerside Waterfront campus. The agreement will provide funding for training for new and current workers in the workforce.
©TC Media photo by Mike Carson.
SUMMERSIDE - Holland College looks to play a major role in the Canada Job Fund agreement.
Egmont MP Gail Shea and P.E.I. Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allen Roach signed the agreement this week, at the college’s Summerside Waterfront Campus.
The agreement includes the Canada Job Grant program that will provide employers with up to $10,000 to train each new worker or retrain a present employee to meet the needs of the business. The funding includes tuition and training materials.
Dave Beaton, director of programming for Holland College, said the school is prepared and equipped to offer needed courses.
“Holland College has always responded to industry needs,” Beaton said. “We pride ourselves in our ability to act quickly and act responsibly to be there when industry needs training. In many cases we have the resources. We have the shop space. We have the state-of-the-art equipment that industry might not have, new technologies. We’re fully on top of that. We see ourselves being a key player in this agreement.”
The Canada Job Grant program is employer-driven.
“Our response to that would be when they come looking for something that we don’t have, then, with the support of this agreement, with the support of the federal and provincial governments, we’ll be able to respond appropriately to it,” Beaton said.
The program could lead to Holland College establishing new courses.
“I would see us having course offerings,” Beaton said. “Whether they’re nine-month certificate courses, two-year diploma courses or just short-term training, we can respond accordingly to whatever they need.”
Beaton said the need for training opportunities is unquestionable.
“We have an aging workforce,” he said. “The retirements haven’t occurred in what we had anticipated because the economy had taken a step back a number of years ago. But since people have recovered from that, and retirement becomes more of a reality to them, then there’s going to be a huge gap there. Our ability to compete in a global market is unquestionable.”
Beaton said Prince Edward Island has businesses that are competing all over the world and need trained workers.
“Whether it’s a welder or somebody in the IT field, there’s a labour shortage and we’re there to train people to fill that labour shortage,” he said.
According to Build Force Canada, the anticipated retirement of as many as 1,500 workers over the next 10 years, combined with a steady construction pace, will result in a continued need for workers with constriction-related skills on Prince Edward Island.
Prince Edward Island will receive approximately $2 million through the Canada Job Fund.