Prior to this initiative, Venture Kamloops made a series of observations and highlighted opportunities that led to the in-depth work of the VK Workforce Development initiative. This initiative was developed to educate and assist local businesses in adapting to the tight labour market and finding unique talent pools that fit their talent needs, so they can continue to grow and prosper.
1. Hosting an annual full-day workforce development conference and job fair. The 2022 inaugural conference and job fair includes a keynote speaker who educated on the labour market and educated employers on ways to stay competitive in a tight labour market. We had three panels each made up of organizations and information on strategy and accessing unique talent pools.
The panels were:
- Diversity, inclusion, and equity strategy Panel: Work BC, TKumlups Te Secwepemc, Stk'emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation, Kamloops Immigrant Services and the Aboriginal Training and Employment Council.
- Local Workforce Development Organizations Panel: TRU Co-op and Career Services, TRU Trades and Technology Dept., INWIL, Aboriginal Training and Employment Council, Work BC, Kamloops Immigrant Services, Skilled Trades Employment Program, the BC Construction Association - Integrating Newcomers, and Canada's LGBT + Chamber of Commerce
- Provincial and Federal organizations Panel: Immigration Employment Council of BC, Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada, and British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program.
Following the Panels, employers had the opportunity to set up in the job fair. The job fair was attended by job seekers and the TRU population. Employers provided great feedback and responded that they received many prospects at the job fair and learned a tremendous amount at the conference.
2. Developing an launched an interactive Workforce Development Resource Webpage for employers to review and book a meeting with Venture Kamloops to receive a workforce development plan and introductions to new recruitment channels.
- Through our one on one meetings with businesses we have a set questionnaire for employers to drill down on their workforce development issues. We are a small team so we wanted a way for employers to self identify and reach out to VK for assistance. We developed the webpage as a self serve guide or a first step to gain a meeting with VK to develop their workforce plans together.
- The webpage host organization and program information, hiring and training grants as well as job boards that are less well known. It is broken down by talent type so employers can research the organizations that make the most sense for their business and favorite the ones they feel are a good fit. This information is sent to Venture Kamloops and we begin the process of developing a workforce development plan tailors to their business needs.
3. Workforce Development Planning with employers
The steps that follow include:
- A meeting with Venture Kamloops to review the job requirements and discussion about the company's current recruitment strategies, company culture, HR capacity, retention etc.
- VK produces a workforce development plan for the company.
- It is reviewed through email correspondence with the employer and a warm hand off is provided to be sure the process is seamless.
4. Connecting employers to workforce development organizations to help them with recruitment.
Introduction meetings by zoom or email introduction are set-up by VK to ensure a warm hand off is provided and that the assistance is valuable. If it is clear the talent is not available, other channels are explored.
- For highly skilled talent or for employers who have been searching for specific talent and can not find them, a three-way call is set up with either, IECBC, ICTC-CTIC, IRCC, BC Construction Association - Integrating Newcomers and/or the BC PNP to help the employer understand their options to work with provincial organizations that help newcomers find employment and international economic immigration options. It is also an opportunity for VK to build their knowledge on hiring newcomers and international economic immigration.
- Finally, if the workplan determines that the individual is looking for a highly skilled person, VK will use their designated referral partner to send off a referral to ESDC for a Category A application under the Global Talent Stream to make sure the company has assistance to bringing in the talent in an expedited manner.
5. Venture Kamloops trilateral agreement with IRCC and ESDC
- Venture Kamloops, IRCC and ESDC have signed a MOU to formalize the process of VK becoming a Global Skill Strategy Dedicated Service Channel (DSC) Referral Partner for the Global Talent Stream Category A jobs. This gives VK the ability to fast track international economic immigration for companies making a significant contribution to the local economy (DSC), Venture Kamloops can assist these employers to accelerate the proves of hiring highly skilled talent internationally.
6. Venture Kamloops embarks on a regional approach to workforce development.
- Venture Kamloops application for a regional approach to workforce development was approved for funding from ETSI-BC in December 2022.
- In the application process, VK explained that they wanted to put together a delegation to travel to Europe's largest Emigration Expo to represent local employers and to bring attention to the region. The innovative approach has come together and Venture Kamloops will travel with Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program and Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada as a delegation to represent the Thompson Okanagan on the global stage and attract highly skilled talent to the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia.
- This first step in recruitment will assist employers in finding highly skilled talent as finding talent is the first step in all international economic immigration process. Additionally, it will draw talent into the interior of BC's Thompson Okanagan and share the newcomer talent with the lower mainland since this is currently where majority of newcomers end up.
- Venture Kamloops also took a regional approach in setting up a pre-travel webinar for Thompson Okanagan employers to learn about Accessing Global Talent with presenters from IRCC and the BCPNP program. We had 80 participants sign up for the webinar and follow up information was sent to employers.
We have seen many hires from the referrals we have done at all levels. Locally from Kamloops Immigrant Services, Work BC, TRU Co-op and Career services. Provincially with IECBC and federally we have seen employers bring employees from outside of Canada to work for their companies.
Employers have told us time and time again that they do not have the time to research and figure out new recruitment channels and that government websites are time consuming to challenging to navigate. Since September 2021, Venture Kamloops has done 0ver 459 employer referrals to workforce development organizations locally, provincially and federally.
The workforce Development conference and job fair assisted 148 employers in understanding DEI, Indigenous inclusion and equity, international economic immigration, and other recruitment channels as well as the in-depth knowledge on our local labour market. We received tremendous feedback from employers following the inaugural Workforce Development Conference and Job fair and the planning process for the 2023 Workforce Development Conference and Job fair is well underway and there are many new creative ideas that will make the September 2023 very exciting and informative.
The Accessing Global Talent Webinar assisted 80 employers identify and understand the programs within international economic immigration for Canada.
There have been initial conversations with TRU Trades and Technology department to develop micro courses to fill the needs of manufacturing and trades and construction companies' talent needs. This is a longer road to seeing success but the initial relationship is there and the discussion is underway
Over 28 new hires confirmed with many referrals working with organizations to find ongoing talent needs. International economic immigration is a longer process, and we are now starting to see the results of our efforts with 3 international economic immigration hires confirmed.
Venture Kamloops has strengthened relationships with 25 organizations on a local, provincial, and federal level and established a regional working group between SAEDS and COEDC and VK. These relationships have provided fast access and a streamlined process to gaining assistance in finding talent for their businesses through alternative talent pools and recruitment channels.
The referral organizations include:
- Work BC
- Kamloops Immigrant Services
- The Aboriginal Training and Employment council
- Aboriginal Skills Employment & Training Strategy (ASETS)
- Stk'emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation
- Tkemlups Te Secwepemc Nation
- TRU Co-op and Career Services
- TRU Trades Foundations Program
- Women In Trades Program
- TRU Galardi School of Business
- TRU Science Department
- Interior & Northern Work Integrated Learning Program (INWIL)
- Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IECBC)
- BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)
- Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP)
- BC Construction Association - Integrating Newcomers to Canada Program (BCCA-IN)
- Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium (EMC)
- Innovate BC - DS4Y Program
- IRCC - Post Graduate Work Permit program (PGWPP)
- IRCC - International Mobility Program
- IRCC - Temporary Foreign Worker Program
- IRCC - Federal Express entry for Skilled Workers
- ESDC - Global Talent Stream (GTS) Category B
- ESDC - Global Talent Stream (GTS) Category A. Global Skill Strategy
- Dedicated Service Channel(DSC) Referral Partner for Category A jobs and for companies making a significant contribution to the local economy (DSC)
- NRC IRAP funding to hire young graduates
Establishing Venture Kamloops as a Global Skill Strategy Dedicated Service Channel(DSC) Referral Partner for Category A jobs has given employers who need access to highly skilled talent quickly when they need it. Additionally, for the many employers who have done calls with IRCC and attended our conferences and the accessing global talent webinar, they are now in a much better positions to hire internationally when they need to.
Absolutely, the workforce development initiative Venture Kamloops has created is replicable and transferable! Aiding employers in developing a workforce development plan and introducing employers to unique talent pools, new resources and tools could easily be duplicated for another town or city. Research on DEI strategies, youth hiring, and training/hiring grants and can be packaged up as well. The Resources that Venture Kamloops uses are mostly on our website and each city will have their own counterparts to refer but generally the principle is all there.
Communities could seek out the assistance of workforce development organizations, host workforce development conferences and job fair in partnership with community and offer accessing global talent webinars.
Not all communities can become a referral partner with IRCC and ESDC but this should not stop them from working with their closest referral partner to to help employers through the process.
The regional approach to international economic immigration recruitment through travel with a delegation for a region could be duplicated or if they are in the Thompson Okanagan, working with the existing group would be easily accomplished for future dedications on international attraction.