The region’s four premiers shook hands on the new Atlantic Workforce Partnership during their meeting in P.E.I. Wednesday. They promoted the idea as a way to maximize the potential of major projects like the $25 billion Halifax shipbuilding contract which will need thousands of workers, but workers with specialized skills.
“What we see in Atlantic Canada is some 354 projects that are in various stages of development that will total some $71 billion,” said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter.
“How do we provide sufficient skills training, upgrading, educational incentives in order to allow us to move as many people as possible into the productive part of the supply chain?”
The partnership will be led by a steering committee of deputy ministers responsible for economic development, skills training, labour and immigration in the four provinces.
Together they will do an inventory of the current skills sets of the region’s workers, then develop strategies to enhance their skills through greater apprenticeship opportunities and educational programs.
P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz said they hope to get the region’s universities and colleges to cooperate with one another in order to help train the population for the jobs that will be available.
“This is really about all four Atlantic provinces getting together, sharing information in terms of the jobs that are going to be available and are available now and into the future and how we can get our populations prepared for those jobs,” he said.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward said this initiative is being developed to show the federal government the region is working to help seasonal workers who regularly draw employment insurance to have enhanced job opportunities in skilled labour positions.
“(This is) work that we’re going to be doing in a collaborative way and a collective way around the development of our workforce in Atlantic Canada and that’s another very positive message that we’re sending.”
The four Atlantic premiers were in P.E.I. Wednesday for the annual Council of Atlantic Premiers.