Canadian Plastics

Quick Answer Is Not the Solution for Moldmakers

There is a certain air of contentment now that the federal government appears ready to implement policies and procedures that will facilitate the quick and painless process of hiring skilled mold make...

January 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



There is a certain air of contentment now that the federal government appears ready to implement policies and procedures that will facilitate the quick and painless process of hiring skilled mold makers from abroad.

Is this a time for rejoicing? We think not. Rather it is a time to contemplate the lack of action that again leads us to this regressive strategy for replacing the aging workforce in our machine shops. True, it does cost money to train people, but consider the cost to companies when they neglect their corporate responsibility to train the next generation of skilled workers.

In 1979, just 20 years ago, the machining sector was complaining about the current and projected shortage of skilled labor in the metal machining occupations. They went as far as to lobby different levels of government to provide funding for training programs and facilities that would meet this need. Ironically, as people graduated from these same training programs in 1981/82, companies were refusing to hire graduates because they were no longer busy.

But it is during these not-so-busy times that skilled workers have an opportunity to spend time with apprentices.

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Today we are still complaining about the shortage of skilled workers. Why? Because many companies were not willing to promote and support a long term training strategy. When asked why, companies drag out the same tired old excuses (see above).

Rather than spending money on hiring workers from abroad, companies would do well to consider supporting training programs that will ensure they have a skilled workforce. When everyone invests in a training culture everyone wins. Companies need not be concerned if one or two employees wander up the road to another company because there will be other skilled people in the system to take their place.

By Malcolm Archer and Kenneth Ellis, professors, Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Downsview, Ont.

TIRED OLD EXCUSE

If I spend all that time and expense training someone, they will just go down the road for 25 cents an

hour more.

It costs about $250,000 to train an apprentice; I cannot afford that.

Ontario-trained skilled workers do not possess the same high level of

training and experience as people trained in Europe.

WHAT WE THINK THEY’RE REALLY SAYING

I am not prepared to pay my employees a reasonable wage and treat them well so they will not look down the road.

I have come up with this inflated cost to

justify not fulfilling my corporate

responsibilities.

I do not have the time, energy or

interest to get involved in improving the

apprenticeship system in Ontario.


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