Labour market study seeks needed skills

Will determine labour training and education needs of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows area

A $110,900 research project, announced by the provincial government last week, will try to determine what specific labour market training is needed in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Mission.

The District of Maple Ridge and Invest North Fraser have awarded a contract to R.A. Malatest and Associates to research and assess the North Fraser region’s current labour market situation, and the anticipated labour market needs for the next five years.

“For example, there is no university in the North Fraser. Could there be? Should there be? That’s what we’ll look at,” said Marlyn Graziano, chair of the steering committee for the North Fraser Education Task force.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity.”

Her group is looking forward to having solid data that shows gaps in what training and education is offered.

A final report will be produced by Oct. 11, identifying the top three opportunities for post-secondary, industry and business to deliver labour market training in the region, recommending specific post-secondary/vocational training programs.

Graziano said the work will offer projections.

“There is a lot of discussion in the province right now about, ‘What do employers need?’”

She said Jan Unwin has been consulted, and will continue to be part of the conversation.

Unwin was the superintendent of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district, and has gone on to work with the Education Ministry as the superintendent of graduation and student transitions.

“If there’s one person who can break down silos, it’s Jan,” said Graziano.

She said the three communities compromising Invest North Fraser work together because of their common goal of attracting investment and jobs.

Her group thinks of the region as a single community.

“A border between communities doesn’t mean much to people who cross those borders all the time.”

The funding was part of $485,000 in “labour market partnership funding,” which was announced by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation last week.