OTTAWA – With more than 62,000 construction workers retiring within the next 10 years, a new study points to a major opportunity for Aboriginal youth.
That’s according to A Study of Aboriginal Participation in the Construction Industry commissioned by the Construction Sector Council (CSC) and the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada (AHRDCC) as part of an effort to increase Aboriginal participation in the construction workforce.
The report is the first to examine in depth what is working and what is not when it comes to linking Aboriginal youth to construction employment.
“Aboriginal youth were identified in earlier CSC research as an important untapped labour source for the industry,” says CSC Executive Director George Gritziotis, “and now this study is telling us that there are lots of opportunities to connect them with construction work. It’s a perfect fit, and one we intend to ensure is mutually beneficial.”
“There’s a big need to need to replenish the construction workforce in the years ahead, and opening the doors of a vital industry to Aboriginal youth is good for Canada,” he says.
Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of the AHRDCC, says “Aboriginal workers are ready to move through those doors and this report is a giant step in the right direction.”
“This research provides both supply and demand side organizations with the knowledge and information needed to help create meaningful training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people. Based on the projected construction job growth, 7464 Aboriginal construction workers will be needed in the next 10 years.”
The report provides an overview of services and infrastructures now in place and recommends how they can be improved upon. For example, it calls for an expanded role for key players, such as Aboriginal communities and delivery organizations, which play a lead role in recruitment, as well as education and training centres, governments, labour groups and employers.
It also calls on the two sector councils to expand on their successful partnership, by continuing to work together on initiatives such as the ironworker Aboriginal career awareness project, which is linking Aboriginal people with careers in ironworker.
Funding for A Study of Aboriginal Participation in the Construction Workforce was provided by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program. It is one of several studies commissioned by the CSC on issues related to the supply of labour in the construction industry.
For more information:
Director of Projects, CSC
Manager, AHRDCC National Trades Project