Sault College holds event addressing skilled trades workforce shortage

Trades professionals in Sault Ste. Marie, along with Sault College, are highlighting a serious need for more skilled trades workers.

The college held an event with local industry giants to discuss the challenges they're facing when it comes to filling gaps left by an aging workforce.

"The number of individuals entering into skilled trades has not been quite what we've expected," said David Orazietti of Sault College.

"Enrolment is still decent, but it is not necessarily growing in the same way that opportunities are growing."

Aging workforce

Representatives from Algoma Steel and Tenaris both said age is one of their biggest concerns. As things stand, retirements are currently outpacing the number of new hires.

"We do have an aging workforce, we're not unique in that regard, and it's a constant challenge to find qualified trades people to fill those roles," said Brenda Stenta of Algoma Steel.

"We expect that will continue to be (an issue) in the next five to 10 years, as we continue to see retirement," added Britta Allen from Tenaris Algoma.

School boards attended Wednesday to hear from companies about how they can work to help promote the trades to students, with an emphasis on creating a more diverse and equal opportunity workplace for women and minorities.