The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) hosted a Regional Skilled Trades Advancement Forum on Friday, March 29th in Walkerton to gather input and insight on opportunities to work collectively as a region to expand and increase the supply of skilled trades to meet future demand.
The concept of the Nuclear Innovation Institute is to develop a centre of excellence that is a community-style hub that encourages active inquiry and research, fosters creative and dynamic ideas and promotes continuous and collaborative learning.
The Forum in Walkerton brought together over 90 participants, including officials from local, regional and provincial governments, representatives from trade unions and labour organizations, senior college and school-board administrators, executives from Bruce Power and numerous suppliers with significant future skilled trade needs, as well as, local business leaders from outside the nuclear sector.
The focus of the forum was to ensure that the local labour market is in a position to adapt, and respond to, increased employment opportunities in the skilled trades.
“Innovation is about finding new products, ideas and methods; this includes finding creative, collaborative ways to build our skilled trades resources,” said Frank Saunders, President, Nuclear Innovation Institute. “Helping ensure we have enough trades to support Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement (MCR) program and the regional nuclear industry is key to our success. Today has been a great example of how the NII will bring together key partners in the public and private sectors to help ensure we continue forward on the path to long-term success – collectively.”
The half-day session began with a keynote address from Patrick Dillon, Business Manager, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, who spoke to a number of fundamental topics, including; the opportunities to building capacity through apprenticeships, developing the local economy, the diversity of career opportunities and the consistent need to be proactive when it comes to safety.
The Forum also included an expert panel discussion featuring Scott Clark, Manager of Labour Relations, Bruce Power, who explored the labour market impacts of the Bruce Power investment program; Bruce Smith, Project Manager, Black & McDonald Limited, a major employer of skilled trades, with significant future skilled trade needs, and; Mary Jane Bushell, President and CEO, Larsen & Shaw Limited, who provided a local, non-nuclear perspective, as well as, expertise in training and business development models from Germany and the southeast U.S.
The program wrapped up with a roundtable discussion, encouraging participants to provide insight and recommendations on ways we can do more locally and collaboratively to help ensure our region’s success. The feedback received during the session will frame the Skilled Trades Advancement Strategy that will be developed to guide the Secretariat’s functions.
“Today’s event was a great opportunity to bring all the various stakeholders from across our region together to build the foundation necessary to advance our vision for a Trades and Skilled Workforce Secretariat,” said Mitch Twolan, Warden of Bruce County. “The feedback received today will help inform the Secretariat’s engagement strategy, a tactical roadmap, directly addressing labour shortages and known labour market issues, advancing the Bruce region as a skilled trades’ and training hub,” Twolan adds.
The Regional Skilled Trades Advancement Forum and the Trades and Skilled Workforce Secretariat are funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
About the Nuclear Innovation Institute
In May 2018, Bruce Power and the County of Bruce announced a new partnership to establish Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) in Bruce County. The NII will bring together technological leaders to share collective expertise and knowledge, while identifying opportunities to advance nuclear applications and technologies, as well as people skills through training. One of the three key functions for the NII is a Trades and Skilled Workforce Secretariat. The Trades and Skilled Workforce Secretariat, consists of industry leaders coordinating and increasing employment in the skilled trades in support of building a strong, sustainable regional labour force. Centered on partnerships with education, labour unions and the government, the Secretariat works to collaboratively address regional and sectoral needs in the labour market and increase participation in under-represented groups.
For more information, visit: http://www.nuclearinnovationinstitute.com