Skilled Trades Shortage Costing Windsor-Essex Business

A new report indicates there is a desperate skilled trades shortage in Windsor-Essex.

That's according to the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Talent in Transition Report says that 82% of businesses that attempted to hire staff last year experienced difficulties in finding people with the proper qualifications.

Chamber CEO Matt Marchand says Windsor-Essex is losing out on $600-million in lost economic opportunity every year because employers can't find the workers they need. "We are losing out on expansion, we are losing out on work orders. We are just not maximizing our economic potential here in Windsor-Essex."

Marchand says more work needs to be done to promote career pathways into the skilled trades. "You can make a lot of money at a very young age, getting skilled off right off the bat. You can be in your early to mid twenties making a heck of a lot of money relative to your peers, and position yourself really for the future. You could own a business, you can have other people involved in your business."

Skills Canada estimates that 40% of new jobs created in the next decade will be in the skilled trades but only 26% of people 13 to 24-years-old are considering that as a career.

"Many young adults and children are unaware of the opportunities skilled trades jobs offer," says Marchand. "There is a lot of money to be made in the skills sector. We need an all hands on deck effort to communicate that to our young people and get them engaged in the skills sector. There are lots of opportunity for our young folks. They do not necessarily have to go to university or post graduate studies. There is lots of money and opportunity available right now."

Marchand adds that the expansion of co-op placements, internships and apprenticeships are just a few ways to help educate people on the benefits of a skilled trade job.