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October 29, 2013

Educators, Industry and Government Agree Greater Focus on Colleges, Training and Apprenticeships Will Help Reduce Skills Gap

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The Association of Canadian Community Colleges has announced it is seeking closer alignment with the country’s business communities and industry sector associations to support jobs and growth. The move is part of efforts to bridge Canada’s very real skills gap and ensure students and parents have the complete picture of how to start a great career.

Presidents and CEOs from colleges, institutes, and polytechnics across Canada came together for a National Skills Summit to identify solutions for greater access to education, including Indigenous learners, and to connect Canadians to the right skills for employment. Despite recent suggestions the skills gap may be overstated, business leaders and senior executives attending the summit spoke of their realities and are keenly aware of the urgency around skills and training in Canada.

“About 90 percent of college grads find employment within six months of graduation, yet we continue to see people in the skilled trades not getting the respect they deserve,” said ACCC President, Denise Amyot. “We are strengthening ties with employers and industry so that students and their parents start to consider the lucrative careers available through college education.”

Federal Employment Minister, Jason Kenney, says colleges provide “relevant skills for the labour market of today and the future,” while the head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce notes the role of colleges “has never been more vital.” The Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Federation of Independent Business echo these sentiments and agree colleges can really contribute towards reducing the skills gap.

ACCC members will strengthen existing partnerships and seek new ones with industry and social organizations to support programs that continue to give students real-world job experience. To support this engagement the Association will re-establish an employer coalition; promote its work on pathways and transferability; leverage its membership on committees of other related organizations; and will name three new external directors to its Board of Directors.

“Whether it’s aerospace, construction, petroleum, forestry, tourism, manufacturing, exporting, or science and technology, each sector reports needing our members’ students, so we must all work together,” said Amyot. “It’s also crucial for parents, students, high school guidance counselors and others to recognize there are many options for post-secondary education and they’re all valid.”

ACCC is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly funded colleges, institutes and polytechnics, with 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities.


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