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A Skilled Trades Secretariat is being established as part of the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII), and will begin working from the NII’s temporary headquarters in downtown Port Elgin in January. 

“At Bruce Power, we have been actively working with our industry, union and college partners to increase the supply of high-demand trades that will be required in order to deliver our Life-Extension Program on time and on budget,” said Cathy Sprague, Bruce Power’s Executive Vice President, Human Resources. “We have a number of organizations in Bruce, Grey and Huron counties working to increase the supply of skilled trades through promotion to local youth. Now is the right time to connect industry leaders with community partners and adopt a one-window approach to advancing our region as a skilled trades and training hub.”

In a County of Bruce media release, the Secretariat will provide an administrative and coordination function, bringing together industry leaders and local organizations to establish a collaborative mechanism for maximizing training programs and capitalizing on local assets, to increase the supply of high-demand skilled trades locally.

Multiple organizations across the region have been exploring opportunities to raise awareness of skilled trades in our local schools; expand training opportunities locally, and connect future labour market supply with the industry and union leaders that will require a steady supply for the next 20 years and beyond. The Secretariat will bring these multiple pieces together, ensuring a calculated and coordinated approach.

“The Skilled Trades Secretariat is a critical first step in bringing together our industry and community leaders – we can only be successful if we work together and ensure that our resources are aligned,” said Marianne Nero, Bruce County’s Acting Chief Administrative Officer. “The Secretariat will lead Bruce County’s vision for a centre of excellence, advancing trades and skilled workforce development across the County, setting the standard for skilled trades supply in Ontario.”

Bruce County and Bruce Power have begun a process to hire a Skilled Trades Secretariat Coordinator who will be responsible for coordinating and organizing the Secretariat’s function. Once operational, the Secretariat will:

- Be led by a Skilled Trades Oversight Committee consisting of industry representatives. The committee will focus on developing local training opportunities (apprenticeships, local training facilities, etc.).

- Engage partners to provide input into the process and support the Oversight Committee.

- Engage in asset mapping of training facilities, resources and programs to advance skilled trades training locally.

- Focus on Bruce Power demand, as well as demand from other sectors and businesses in the region, which also rely on the skilled trades.

- Work closely with unions, school boards and local colleges to raise awareness of opportunities in skilled trades; promote pathways and employment opportunities in the skilled trades, and deliver training programs.

A skilled trades expert panel forum will take place early in 2019 to launch the Secretariat position as well as gather input and insight from all partners, while establishing a framework for a Regional Skilled Trades Advancement Strategy.

“We are adopting a community partner model similar to the partnership established with Bruce, Grey and Huron counties for the Economic Development and Innovation Initiative that began in 2016,” said James Scongack, Bruce Power’s Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Operational Services. “We know the only way we will be successful as a region is if we bring together our industry partners and community leaders to establish a collective vision and action plan that we can all take ownership and pride in executing together.”

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