Entries in bridges (1)


Building bridges between business and post-secondary education

The report from the Canadian Chamber “A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment” comes at a time when not only is Canada as a whole struggling with a skills shortage, but so are its individual provinces and municipalities. The issues of skills, young workers and preparing for a large cohort of retirees have been a very large part of discussions around the future of Peterborough. 

The Chamber’s involvement: 


  • In May of 2012, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) hosted an Ontario Economic Leadership Series roundtable. One of several recommendations was continuing to build bridges between Fleming College, Trent University and the business community. 
  • In November of 2013, the Young Professionals Group hosted a policy forum discussion around youth unemployment and under-employment. Result: Call for a more cohesive strategy on jobs in Peterborough. 
  • At the recent Chamber, DBIA and Women’s Business Network Mayoral Debate candidates spoke of a desire to integrate students of Trent and Fleming into the downtown and by extension the business community. 
  • There is talk of an Entrepreneurship Centre at Trent through the Trent Business Council. 
  • The Chamber currently offers student memberships to Trent University and Fleming College. These are distributed by the educational institutions to help aspiring business students to start building career contacts prior to graduation. 
  • The Chamber is planning to hold a Business Summit in 2015, with the Young Professionals Group spearheading the event. 


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce report begins with the following letter from President and CEO Perrin Beatty. 

As Canada comes to terms with its skills challenges and the numbers of unemployed and under-employed workers, employers, educators and governments are facing great uncertainty about whether we will have enough graduates in high-demand fields or with the skills most sought after. 

If Canada is to successfully tackle its skills gap and ensure its economic growth, we have to give special attention to the largest cohort of labour force entrants each year: young people. 

The skills issue facing youth is the focus of great concern. Canada’s results in international education surveys have been mixed. Our highly-educated youth may still be falling short of the skills needed for our economy to succeed. Without action, this shortage is likely to increase in future as labour market needs continue to evolve. 

Youth unemployment rates have also remained high in the post-recession period, prompting the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to study youth employment and table a report in June 2014. Across the country, there is a growing understanding that closing the skills gap means better aligning our education and training systems to our labour market needs. It is a concern that led the federal Minister of Employment and Social Development, Jason Kenney, to organize a mission to Germany, Europe’s strongest labour market where the “dual training” system enables post-secondary students to segue seamlessly into employment via apprenticeships across 350 occupations. 

At a national skills summit in June 2014, a strong consensus emerged on the need for better labour market information to help youth connect to available jobs and for more responsiveness in the educational system to labour market needs. Three weeks after that summit, provincial-territorial education and labour market ministers jointly hosted a skills symposium with stakeholders to similarly probe improving education-employment linkages. 

“We have to do a better job in preparing young people for the labour market,” is a common refrain among key players on this topic. For Canadian youth, it is essential the education or training they get is relevant to the job market they will enter. First, they need to know where the jobs will be. Second, they need to know what those jobs will be so they can plan their education and training accordingly. Third, they need education that is not just job training but equips them to be adaptable. 

Employers do not always provide clear and strong signals to youth. That needs to change, and this report explores how to improve it. At every step of this discussion on youth, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been engaged with government and stakeholders. With our members in both the employer and educator communities, the Canadian Chamber brings a demand-meets-supply perspective to the need for better labour market information and improving connections between business and post-secondary education. 

With this report, we investigate the state of key factors affecting youth’s successful transition to employment in Canada: 

  1. Labour market information 
  2. Career decision-making 
  3. Work-integrated learning 

Let us do our best to help young people make more informed decisions on their future education and the skills they need. Let us give them the best opportunities to find employment in Canada's dynamic economy. 

The report makes 14 recommendations around the broader topics over improved labour market information (LMI) and work-integrated learning and skills development. 

Full Report

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.