Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour

Minister hosts skills summit, announces forum on skills development (08/10/27)

NB 1571

Oct. 27, 2008

SAINT JOHN (CNB) - A forum representing a cross-section of stakeholders is being created to advise the provincial government on how it should best provide skills development.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Ed Doherty announced the creation of the Standing Forum on Skills Development during a skills summit he was hosting in Saint John.

"I am proud that our government is bringing together such a diverse group to this summit to meet the ever-changing labour force needs of our province," said Doherty.

The forum will include representatives from a cross-section of interests and perspectives, including: business; labour; education; not-for-profit organizations and other community groups; First Nations; recent immigrants; women; youth; persons with disabilities; and older adults.

The forum will be responsible for examining the ideas from the discussions over the past several months and for providing advice on priority items that government and stakeholders need to address. It will provide an opportunity for leaders from the different sectors to review progress in key areas and discuss directions and priorities.

"It is important that we continually exchange ideas and suggestions with our partners, given that New Brunswick is facing some demographic challenges with an aging workforce and also given that we will need highly skilled workers for our province's exciting construction and energy projects," said Doherty.

The summit culminates five roundtable discussions and an online dialogue held during the past 18 months. The event has attracted 60 participants, representing labour groups; business leaders; construction and trades associations; forestry interests; Aboriginal stakeholders; multicultural organizations; tourism, seafood, agricultural and aquaculture interests; manufacturers and exporters; energy and trucking companies; government; and advocacy groups for literacy, youth and persons with disabilities.

Doherty said the government has already taken positive steps on a number of priorities. Some of the roundtables and discussions have helped further many actions in the area of skills development including:

"This process involves many equal partners, and government is one of them," said Doherty. "We will facilitate discussion and keep the lines of communications open. Collectively we have to be involved and take ownership in finding solutions. To reach our shared goal of self-sufficiency, we have an interest in seeing our population be better skilled and have all employable residents be in the labour force."

08/10/27

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Holland, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour 506-444-5655.

08/10/27