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Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce to Government: Get Employer-Driven Training Programs Right
Bay of Quinte Region, ON, September 4, 2014: The Government of Ontario must ensure that upcoming changes to the province’s training and employment programs reflect the needs of employers, according to a new report released by the Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Essential Skills Ontario.
The call comes as the government works to reinvent the way that many training and employment programs are delivered in the province by giving employers a more direct role in the type of training their workers receive. The bulk of these programs will be supported through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, which will cover two-thirds of the cost of training a current or prospective worker, with government chipping in up to $10,000.
“By encouraging businesses to invest more in their employees, these new employer-driven programs could be an important step toward improving Ontario’s economic competitiveness,” says Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “But they’ll only succeed if they are designed with the needs of employers in mind.”
The report, Moving Forward Together, makes the case that programs should be easy to access for employers. “We recognize that measures are required to maintain the integrity of these programs and minimize fraud,” adds O’Dette. “But government needs to be conscious that onerous red tape and paperwork will only deter employers from participating in the program.”
It also calls on government to foster collaboration among companies in the design of training programs to minimize the risk of poaching and to lower the costs associated with training. This will require government to develop a close relationship with sector associations that are already providing workforce training.
In addition, the report drives home the importance of increasing engagement between government and the business community as most employers are unaware of current training and employment provisions available to them.
“Ontario’s employers are interested and willing to participate in revamped training programs,” says O’Dette. “They recognize that they cannot rely solely on government and external- training sources to meet their workforce needs, and that now is the time to get more engaged in building the skills of their employees.”
“We were very pleased to have the opportunity to engage our Chamber members in the process of developing the report, ensuring their thoughts and concerns were brought forward for consideration,” states Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Saunders. “we now look forward to working with our Chamber network to ensure the solutions and recommendations contained in the report are included in the development of government policy.”
“When we held a roundtable discussion with employers in the Quinte Region on this topic they were clear that any program from the government had to be flexible enough to meet the needs of their company,” says Quinte West Chamber manager Suzanne Andrews. “Coming up with a program that is restrictive, slow and cumbersome has no value to employers who have to move quickly to stay competitive.”
“The roundtable discussion with employers in the Quinte Region on training needs and requirements was invaluable”, says Michael McLeod of the Prince Edward County Chamber. “It gave all participants the opportunity to share thoughts and provide direct feedback on this important matter to the chamber network and the government through the Training report.”
Moving Forward Together: An Employer Perspective on the Design of Skills Training Programs in Ontario is based on extensive consultations with employers and training providers from across the province. Read the report: http://quintewestchamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Moving-Forward-Together_Belleville_Prince-Edward_Quinte-West1.pdf
For more information, please contact:
Bill Saunders Bill@bellevillechamber.ca
Suzanne Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike McLeod email@example.com
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