Mapping and assessing the shifting skills demands for autoworkers resulting from evolving work processes as well as the steady shift to electric vehicle and parts production is a critical tool to manage this transition to net zero. Building an inventory of skills can assist stakeholders in identifying projected needs and existing gaps, assessing capacity and access issues as well as promoting training opportunities to workers.
Provincial ministries responsible for professional education and training, along with Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees income assistance programs such as Employment Insurance, sector development funds and Canada’s Labour Market Information infrastructure, must take the lead in convening such a committee. This inventory may also assist in identifying and recruiting workers displaced from subsectors of the broader auto industry (e.g. parts distribution and vehicle dealerships), recruiting workers from other economic sectors facing transition pressures (e.g. oil and gas) and improving the delivery of relevant, high-quality technical and other essential skills training for workers.
The speed at which Canada’s auto industry will transition to electric vehicle production and what that footprint looks like remains unclear. However, within a few years, the outlook on Canada’s auto industry future went from bleak50 to bright. A rapidly growing industry that is contributing to reduced GHG emissions and achieving Canada’s broader net zero ambitions, has a lot to offer a new generation of workers. Using this appeal as a launchpad to attract young workers into the skilled trades may greatly assist ongoing government and employer recruitment efforts.
50 John McElroy, “Why Young People Shun Auto Industry” (August 28, 2014). Ward’s Auto: https://www.wardsauto.com/blog/why-young-people-shun-auto-industry