Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment in its mandate to take steps to close the skills gap using the Skills 4 Success strategic framework. I am pleased to provide Members with an update on this initiatives and to share an important milestone that this government has achieved. Later today, I will be tabling three documents that contain important labour market information about the Northwest Territories, including the job opportunities that are forecasted over the next 15 years. This work is the result of a partnership with The Conference Board of Canada, which produced the Northwest Territories Labour Market Forecast and Needs Assessment, and accompanying Labour Market Information Resource, which contain data describing our current and future labour force needs for the next several years.
Mr. Speaker, this is vital information which we will use to plan and make decisions on our adult and postsecondary education and training supports. We want to be sure that we are making the right investments to support NWT residents to obtain the skills, knowledge and attitudes for employment success. The labour market resources tell us what the in-demand jobs are going to be in the NWT and we want to prepare northern residents for those opportunities.
Mr. Speaker, the Conference Board of Canada examined the NWT’s forecasted job demands over the next five, ten and 15 years. We have learned that out of the potential 28 thousand job openings anticipated, approximately 78 percent will require college, apprenticeship or university education. Of those potential jobs, less than ten percent will be open to people with less than a high school education.
This is a significant issue for us Mr. Speaker, where a high proportion of the current NWT labour supply is low skilled, according to their highest level of schooling. We know that the demand for skilled labour will intensify in the coming years when more people retire and exit the labour market in large numbers. Focusing on the skills acquired beyond high school and gained through higher educational achievement, training and experience is paramount to the overall success of the NWT.
We must carefully choose how and where we make our investments. Education, training and youth development is critical to the future of the NWT and it’s people and we are responding with the Skills 4 Success Initiative’s four foundational goals:
We now have the labour market information which tells us what the in-demand jobs are and where our focus needs to be. We have also heard from more than 700 people who have engaged with and contributed to the Skills 4 Success Initiative and voiced a collective call for change to build a strong culture of education linked to employment. Their feedback is included in the Stakeholder Engagement Report which we will use, along with the new labour market data, to develop a four-year Action Plan that supports this Assembly’s priority to foster lifelong learning, skills development, training, and employability.
We are now working on the Action Plan that contains a number of clear and measurable goals. As we progress, we will continue to solicit advice from our key stakeholders and partners in adult and postsecondary education and skills training.
Mr. Speaker, early childhood development, through junior kindergarten to grade 12, to Skills 4 Success – these are our continuum of education strategies. Throughout all of these strategies, we are looking at ways to innovate, to tailor our education system to the needs of our learners, to provide opportunities, and truly have a system in place that responds to the education and training needs of northern residents.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.