Interior Forest Labour Relations Association
The Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) negotiates collective agreements on behalf of sawmills and plywood plant operators in the southern interior of British Columbia.
In 2002, IFLRA member companies were concerned about looming skills shortages in the wood industry, particularly among maintenance skilled trades.
Jeff Griffiths and Kevin Sheppard (working through another firm), were engaged to identify and define the tasks performed by journeypersons and apprentices working in plant maintenance – particularly those tasks that were not included in National Occupational Standards.
We toured a number of plants and held focus groups with workers from each maintenance trade (industrial electricians, millwrights, heavy equipment mechanics, planermill technicians and saw sharpening and repair trades). As the project progressed surveys were developed that rated the importance of each task and sub tasks performed by the maintenance workers, as well as proficiencies in critical tasks. We also researched where individuals learned specific tasks: through apprenticeship, on the job, in school, through self-study, etc.
Statistical modeling was used to determine looming critical skills gaps, as well as real-world “time to competency” for skills.The information gathered was used to plan for future maintenance skills shortages, as well as orientation and upgrade training for new hires.