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Be sure to take part in this important industry survey

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WMC by Richard Lipman
Richard Lipman is president of the Wood Manufacturing Council. For more info email

The Conference Board of Canada is conducting a survey of employers and other stakeholders in the wood-manufacturing sector to understand key trends and issues facing the sector and its workforce, and to identify the skills, knowledge, resources and policies required to respond to changing industry needs.
They have been commissioned by the Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC) to conduct the study and report on results in 2015. This is not research that will sit on the shelf - people who make decisions that actually affect your business will read this report.
The goal of the project is to provide an increased understanding of the key HR and skills issues that must be addressed by the sector to enhance its viability.  The increased availability of current Labour Market Information (LMI) data will help the industry, job seekers, education and training organizations and governments to make sound HR decisions.
The increased accessibility of current information on the skills and competencies of key occupations, as defined by industry, will support accurate HR strategy and policy within the sector. It will support educational institutions to adjust their curriculum and certification programs, as needed, to ensure they match industry skills requirements.
WMC is excited to conduct this new national LMI report, working with stakeholders to produce a comprehensive sector study to identify short-, medium-, and long-term human resources issues and challenges. It will serve as a basis for the development of a HR strategy for the sector’s future.
The study will provide a diagnostic report that will provide a concise understanding of the sector and its key skills development needs. Among other things, it will also include a description of the sub-sectors and an estimated employment size by sub-sector. There will be a statistical analysis, based on sources such as Statistics Canada and the study will include a look at current and emerging occupations.
The results will be based on employers' responses as to which occupations will become increasingly important, or which will be created to address new technologies and/or new market realities.
The study will also outline key labour market information gaps. There will be a summary of emerging trends and HR issues of importance to the industry. The project includes a second component - the updating of five of the Council’s National Occupational Standards (NOS), to support standardization and labour mobility.
In the past, Canadian wood manufacturers, governments, equity groups and associations etc. have used our LMI studies to understand the industry and its HR challenges and to work more effectively. Previous studies have been utilized extensively throughout the sector, influencing and informing decisions to train and hire, adjust education program content, inform programs and policies etc. The updating of the standards for such occupations as finisher, wood machinery operator and supervisor will be beneficial for employers, employees and educators.
If you are an employer, or make hiring decisions within your company, we invite you to complete a short online survey to offer your thoughts on the opportunities, challenges, trends and issues that the wood manufacturing industry faces, as well as your suggestions for enhancing its competitiveness and sustainability.   The insights and information you share will provide the employers, WMC, governments, educational institutions, associations and other stakeholders with a better understanding of the sectors needs and how they can be addressed, as well as ideas about what is needed to improve industry performance.
A full explanation of the study will be available at that link. Survey responses go to the Conference Board only. All information will be treated as strictly confidential and results will be reported anonymously and in aggregate form only, not from individuals.
As you know, The Conference Board of Canada is well known and highly respected - the foremost independent, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada. They are objective, independent and evidence-based and are not lobbyists for specific interests. They are experts in conducting, publishing and disseminating research, forecasting and economic analysis etc. They specialize in economic trends, organizational performance and public policy issues.
The survey will be open for completion until early in 2015. Analysis and report writing will take place early next year, and there will be opportunities for employers and industry association representatives to indicate their interest in being interviewed by the Conference Board to provide additional insights. The final report will be released by next fall.
We thank you for your assistance. We hope that you will take the time to contribute to this research. It is important that your voice be heard! HR issues are again top of mind for woodworking employer and for prospective employees who are interested to join our sector firms. The Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program funds this project.

Richard Lipman is President of the Wood Manufacturing Council

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

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