“Help Wanted” signs and job advertisements have become all too familiar to many local businesses. With a labour shortage, a lack of qualified applicants, and high turnover rate, we require innovative solutions to help our employers access the workforce they need. The Middlesex Workforce Development Partnership is facilitating a project promoting work-integrated learning (co-op, internships, practicum, apprenticeships) opportunities within Middlesex County. The creation of such project is an effort to relieve workforce hardships that could ultimately prevent local businesses from operating at capacity, and expanding to meet customer demands.
The project has three key components: to allow local employers to showcase available jobs to youth, to allow secondary and post-secondary students hands-on work experience, and to offer schools modern resources to help them build and maintain relationships between local employers and their students. Bridging employers and schools will improve the current labour gaps while encouraging students to stay in Middlesex County by providing them with potential long-term work opportunities. This project serves as a good resource for businesses to utilize and have their postings end up in the hands of students; such opportunities will create more skilled and knowledgeable future employees.
The project is off to a running start with the establishment of an online platform devoted to paid and unpaid work-integrated learning opportunities on the existing www.workinmiddlesex.ca website. The website offers functionality for all. Employers can post available opportunities and seek assistance with recruitment at no cost; educators can access a greater pool of co-operative education and other work-integrated learning opportunities, and be connected directly to the employer; and students can gain confidence, be empowered, and familiarize themselves with possible career options through the online job searching process.
For us to help, we need engagement from local businesses who have participated in, or would like to offer a work-integrated learning opportunity. The process of getting involved is simple. Similar to a job posting, think of your business’ needs and where an extra set of hands may help, then contact Holly Parks, Middlesex County’s Youth Workforce Education Coordinator, and voila, you have an easily accessible, heavily advertised work-integrated learning opportunity at no cost. Additionally, we are producing a video series (Middlesex at Work) to promote the vast work-integrated learning opportunities available and showcase employers who assist and encourage youth to reach their potential through this means. The videos will be used as informational resources for local schools and through our Work in Middlesex platforms. These resources will be accessible to the community in hopes of bolstering the future of our communities, our workforce and labour market. As an added bonus, the footage can be used for promotional purposes by participating employers.