Have a look at this video clip: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/immigration-program-launching-in-2013-to-target-skilled-workers-1.1072923
Great idea, long overdue, and I’m sure many companies will be eager to take advantage of an influx of skilled people from overseas. Canada’s skills crisis will need both immigration AND ground-up training for new workers/retraining of existing workers in order to provide the critical skills our economy needs.
However, these new Canadians will still need training and mentoring to get them properly oriented to the unique requirements of our industries – specific, focused mentoring to fill in gaps in their skill and knowledge to make sure they are can safely and productively do the quality work that the country needs.
So as an employer, how do you approach that?
First, you need to orient your own workforce to the newcomers. Existing workers and supervisors have to understand the skills that the new workers have, any areas where you think they may need some upgrading, and they need to be tolerant of the adjustment that may be required as an immigrant integrates into Canadian society.Since all the workers admitted under this program will either have been recruited specifically by the company who employs them, or be pre-approved by the provinces, their skills should be well known. But if there’s any doubt, you’ll need to create some sort of practical evaluation.So… what are the most critical jobs in your operation? Do you know? If not, how do you find out?
Assuming you have standard work instructions (you DO have standard work instructions, right?) you should be able to rank all of the various jobs performed in your operation in terms of:
- The Safety Requirements: What are the health and safety consequences of doing it wrong?
- The Criticality: What happens to the company if the job is done wrong?
- The Complexity: How difficult is that job to learn, and how often do you need to do it to stay good at it?
- The Frequency: How often do workers need to do it?
Work with your most experienced workers and supervisors, and come up with a few of the most critical tasks. After that, take a look at each task and determine what competency looks like. Generally, you want to determine objective measures for the safety, quality and productivity for the task.
With that in hand, you can then work with the same experienced workers and supervisors to develop some practical ‘demonstrations of competence’ – these will allow you to screen the skills of the newcomer, and focus upgrade training where it is most needed.
Once you’ve developed an upgrade training path, you’re in a position to rapidly and effectively integrate the new workers into your operation – and they are well on their way to being fully integrated into Canada. A win-win.