Oct 05 2012

Firms Need to Address Skills Training Lag

VANCOUVER, B.C. February 9, 2012 — At Kirmac Collision, an auto body repair shop, Peter Vajda realized the need to remain competitive by making sure all of his workers had the best training available to boost productivity and keep up with the latest advances in technology.

Vajda and his team implemented a “leadership development program” for all of his newly hired employees, as well as existing managers. The program focuses on leadership, ethics and “needs-based selling practices” using a range of educational tools, such as case studies and course tools.

It “allows us to nurture people who can deliver in an industry that is heavily customer service-based,” Vajda says. “We believe that training and learning is an ongoing process and we place a huge priority in equipping our team with everything they need to succeed.”

It appears Kirmac may be the exception. Research shows Canadian companies lag far behind other countries when it comes to the amount of money they invest in their employees through skills training.

Canadian employers slipped to 20th place in terms of the priority employers place on employee skills training in a recent ranking. Less than 30 per cent of adult workers aged 25-64 received job-related education and training in Canada, compared with 45 per cent in the U.S., show data from Industry Canada and Statistics Canada.

Canada sits behind the U.S., U.K., Norway, Germany and other European countries in overall job training. As a percentage of overall pay, U.S. firms spend about 50 per cent more on training than Canadian companies.

“The reoccurring problem that employers and employees are facing is that there is a gap in the workplace in terms of expectations,” says Sandra Miles, president of Miles Employment Group in Vancouver.

“Companies are looking to hire employees with a certain level of skill and knowledge. However most companies are not injecting the time or money into on-the-job training,” she adds.

As employers firm up hiring plans for 2012, HR experts say businesses need to re-evaluate their training programs or whether they even have one in place, particularly for new staff. It’s a key part of the recruitment process, yet often overlooked by managers.

As long as the employee has the basic credentials needed to get started, they can “grow into the role” and are likely to be more loyal as a result of that investment in their skill set, Miles adds.


— For Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 11, 2012 H2