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Forest Industry Apprenticeship, Training Practices Must Change to Meet Coming Skilled Worker Shortage

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Apprenticeships and regulated occupations are vital to the continuing health and long-term success of the Canadian forest products sector, according to a new report from the Forest Products Sector Council released at the 25th PwC Annual Forest and Paper Industry Conference in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The report, Linking Innovation with Skills: Apprenticeship, regulated occupations and workforce development in Canada's forest products sector suggests current apprenticeship and training practices need to change to keep up with a coming skilled worker shortage.

According to the report, employers and workers both agree on the benefits of apprenticeship—a higher quality of work, safer work environments, higher wages and higher productivity, and increased employee satisfaction. But with only 40% of the forest products sector employers continuing to invest in apprenticeship training, the rates of participation may be lower than needed to replace retiring workers.

At the professional level, the report highlights the declining enrollment in university forestry programs leading to a professional forestry designation and suggests key HR shortages will exist if this trend continues.

The reports also notes that "with collective will—and through determined collaboration with stakeholders such as educators and governments—apprenticeship training and regulated occupations can continue as strong contributors to the success of Canada's forest products sector."

The Forest Products Sector Council (FPSC-CSPF) is an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program. Established in 2008, FPSC-CSPF provides national collaborative leadership in developing strategic responses and interventions addressing current and emerging human resource and labor market issues in the Canadian forest products sector.


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