Industry Champion Interview
Name: Jennifer Moore
Position: Regional Economic Development Officer
Organization: North Peace Economic Development Commission
The North Peace Economic Development Commission (NPEDC) has a mandate to support, foster, and support, foster, and stimulate the North Peace Region as a significant and sustainable economic driver. With the energy sector playing such a key role in the economic development of the region, workforce development, infrastructure sustainability and regional development are vital the sustainable growth of our communities.
Jennifer’s experience with the NPEDC provides employers in BC’s natural gas and related sector with a great deal of insight into the benefits of hiring new Canadians to fill some of the labour gaps that exist for BC’s natural gas sector.
Interview with Jennifer Moore:
Which skills or occupations, if any, is the region having the most trouble staffing?
The North Peace Region has demand for all skilled labour. With the growth of the energy sector, every aspect of the region is growing with it. The impending growth associated with the BC Hydro Site C Clean Energy Project, liquified natural gas, and wind projects, and our regular course of business with the natural gas sector, there is demand for infrastructure improvements, housing developments, and commercial expansion outside of the work directly associated with the industrial development.
What are some of the greatest benefits to hiring new Canadians?
The benefits to an organization hiring new Canadian are plentiful but, in addition to filling some of the labour gaps that exist for companies, the cultural diversity and new perspectives provide these organizations with greater depth to their business. We live in a global marketplace and appreciation of this reality only stands to benefits the organizations that embrace it.
What do you consider to be the greatest barrier(s) facing new Canadians when seeking employment?
Companies that have not had experience with new Canadians or foreign workers in their workplace has some misconceptions. Our Local Immigration Partnership is working with employers to dispel some of these misconceptions and provide them with tools to aid in the integration of new cultures into their work place.
How important do you feel skilled new Canadians are in filling current and future skills gaps and worker shortages in the natural gas sector?
A reality for all organizations moving forward will be the successful recruitment and retention from a global workforce. The local labour market is not sufficient to meet the needs of the growing sector and as such, looking outside to fill those gaps is a survival necessity for companies who service the natural gas sector.
What do you feel are good skills, attitudes and attributes for a new Canadian wanting to work in this sector to possess?
The labour market is such in NE BC that skills are essential. There is work here for those who have a strong work ethic, a willingness to learn and get the job done, and a positive attitude.