Labour Market Assessment report poses challenges – Halifax

WATCH ABOVE: The pace of construction in Halifax is creating jobs, but filling those jobs could be a challenge. Global’s Ray Bradshaw reports.

HALIFAX – Downtown Halifax’s Nova Centre construction project is just one of many that dominate the city’s skyline these days. The pace of construction in the city is creating lots of jobs, but filling those jobs can be a challenge.

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It’s a good time to be in the construction business in Halifax, but maybe not outside the capital city, according to the new ‘Labour Market Assessment’ report.

Brad Smith, Executive Director of the Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades, said among the workers employed, “34 per cent of them reported being under employed, indicating they worked less than they wanted to in the last 24 months,” but he notes the industry is expecting growth.

More than 1,400 people participated in the survey, which indicates many employers will be leaving the construction business. “33 per cent of employers for example said they plan on retiring in the next 5 years,” said Duncan Williams, President of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia. “47 per cent said they were planning to retire in the next ten years, which really means we have to become much more entrepreneurial in Nova Scotia to replace those workers.”

According to the report, 72 per cent of people who graduate from trades courses expect to be employed within two months, and 51 per cent of new graduates expect to move away from Nova Scotia.

Marjorie Davison, CEO of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, said government has to convince those young workers that Alberta doesn’t have to be their first or only choice. “We have to get the good message out to students that we have opportunities here and we have to give them good labour market information to show them where those opportunities are.”

There are many trade schools across Nova Scotia that offer opportunities to develop skills, including on-the-job training, and enrollment is up.

“The Trades Exhibition Hall is a great facility to come and learn about different opportunities in the construction industry,” said Trent Soholt, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council. “The Construction Association’s Building Futures for Youth is another great opportunity for individuals to learn about construction occupations and the opportunities that exist.”

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