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WMC launches new Labour Market Information study

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

The Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC) is pleased to announce the launch of its project to conduct a new national Labour Market Information (LMI) Study for the Advanced Wood Processing Sector.
The Council will work with sector stakeholders to produce a comprehensive LMI sector study to identify short, medium and long-term human resources issues and challenges, which will serve as a basis for the development of a human resources strategy for the future of the sector.
The project will also include a second component, which is the updating of five of the Council’s National Occupational Standards (NOS), to support standardization and labour mobility.
These two important initiatives are much needed updates of past, successful endeavours that were used by Canadian wood manufacturers, governments, equity groups and associations to understand the industry and its HR challenges and to work more effectively. Previous WMC LMI studies have been utilized extensively throughout the sector, and the updating of the standards for such occupations as finisher, wood machinery operator and supervisor will benefit employers, employees and educators alike.

Changing Business Environment
Iain Macdonald, WMC's board chair and managing director of the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing at the University of British Columbia points out “LMI and NOS resources are vital from a business perspective within the context of the rapidly growing demand for skilled workers.”
HR issues are once more near the top of woodworking employer needs and also for prospective employees who have a strong appetite to enter this growing and career-rich area of the economy.
“Advanced wood processing offers a unique blend of sustainability, technology and opportunity and is a major contributor to Canada’s international reputation for excellence and high performance wood products,” Macdonald states.
This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.
The Labour Market study will provide a diagnostic report for the wood manufacturing industry that will provide stakeholders with a concise understanding of the sector and its key skills development needs. Among other things, it will include a description of the subsectors and an estimated employment size by subsector. There will be a statistical analysis, based on sources like Statistics Canada, and the study will include a look at current and upcoming occupations. This 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 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. An increased level of dialogue, collaboration and commitment to implement an HR strategy among workers, employers, educators, governments and community members should result from this industry-led research. The increased availability of current LMI data will help industry, job-seekers, education and training organizations and governments make sound HR decisions and the increased accessibility of current information on the skills and competencies of key occupations, as defined by industry, will support educational institutions to adjust their curriculum and certification programs, as needed, to ensure they matches industry skills requirements.
Through this column, we will report more on the project, as it progresses.

Richard Lipman is President of the Wood Manufacturing Council.

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