Rob Marshall

Feedback sought on labour study

What job opportunities will there be in the Shuswap, what are the local labour-force skills available, and what are the skill gaps?

These are questions the Shuswap Labour Market Assessment &Action Planning (SLMA) project have been researching for the past several months and now the local communities are invited to give some important feedback.

Community Futures Shuswap contracted Ironsight Business Strategies to do the project.

“We’ve done the information gathering, we completed that at the end of July. We’ve gathered quite a lot of information from community residents,” says Rob Marshall, Community Futures Shuswap Executive Director and chair of the SLMA. “Our objective was to get 500 surveys completed and 80 interviews. We achieved that target. We’re happy with the level of participation.”

The next step is to hold three community meetings in each of the six participating areas over the next six weeks: Salmon Arm, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area ‘C’/South Shuswap, Adams Lake Indian Band, Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, and Splatsin Indian Band.

“We’re encouraging people to participate. The information we share and the information we get back is critical for addressing labor imbalances.”

Marshall says these meetings are open to everyone, from youth to seniors.

Drafts of the research information will be presented at the meetings and then participants will be asked to for feedback.

Marshall says it’s important people participate so these communities can have relevant information. He says a similar study done in Sicamous and Malakwa has proven useful in securing funding for various projects and programs.

“It’s a cliché, but data is the new currency. Businesses and organizations need to have current, relevant information to use for decision making.”

In order to have a vibrant community, he adds, employers need to have employees with the skill sets needed for the job.

Marshall says he doesn’t have any intention of letting this survey sit in a binder to gather dust, and in order for it to have useful and relevant information, it needs to have the community behind it.

“The big message is – please, please, please come and participate. Everyone’s feedback is important.”

The meetings slated are for Salmon Arm are: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 6-8 p.m. at First United Church Hall; Wednesday, Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m. location TBA; and Wednesday, Oct.11, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at First United Church Hall. For more information on community meetings in the other five areas visit Community Futures Shuswap at www.beyourfuture.ca