Guest Editorial: Pro-active approach needed to prevent moldmaker shortage
The question of how to ensure the supply of skilled young moldmakers in the industry is one that has been openly debated for years. Indeed, Canada's continued position as one of the leading moldmaking...
The question of how to ensure the supply of skilled young moldmakers in the industry is one that has been openly debated for years. Indeed, Canada’s continued position as one of the leading moldmaking centres in North America depends on finding ways to increase the awareness of moldmaking as an attractive, lucrative career at a time when young people have many more career options than people did 20 years ago.
This concern is frequently brought up by moldmakers at trade association meetings, and has resulted in some positive, pro-active steps. Certainly the apprenticeship awards given by organizations such as the Canadian Association of Moldmakers and the CPIA’s Mould Makers Council have created a heightened awareness of moldmaking as an exciting and profitable career. Still, it is obvious that the educational process must begin much earlier and involve all stakeholders if we are going to meet the growing demand for skilled apprentices, journeypersons and shop floor supervisors.
It has been my experience that many parents, teachers, councillors, principals and school boards do not understand how the mold, tool and diemaking industry has changed and what a profound impact it has on our society. These industries play a role in the development of 85% of everything we use, buy or touch on a daily basis. In a few years, a person can achieve a salary level that it might take him or her 10 or more years to achieve after acquiring a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree. Moreover, advanced computer CAD and CAM software plays a central role in the design and manufacture of today’s increasingly complex mold systems.
There are a number of ways to address the this lack of information, or some cases ignorance, about the moldmaking industry.
Educate the educators:
provide information about the precision metal cutting trades during professional development days that are scheduled throughout the year
hold technical and skilled trades forums for secondary school department heads and technical teachers at colleges across the country.
hold guidance councillors forums to increase awareness and exposure
Educate the parents:
hold information nights/sessions
hold industry open houses for parents to tour companies
increase use of media advertising in TV, newspapers and journals calling attention to the benefits of a career as a moldmaker
Increase youth awareness:
support interactive skilled trades career fairs
promote regional, provincial and national skills competitions for colleges, secondary schools and apprenticeship training
create Web sites that promote moldmaking and trades opportunities
increase co-op programs and placements
Implementing even a portion of these programs will require involvement and cooperation of industry, government and education. We are faced with many challenges that will need creative new ideas and fresh approaches to training. Nonetheless, the effort will be well worth it. The building of a pool of youth interested in pursuing careers in the precision metal cutting trades is critical for sustaining the success of Canada’s moldmaking industry. Much remains to be done to ensure we do not have a shortage of this vital human resource in the future.