Workforce Series – Interview with Gordon

Workforce Series – Interview with Gordon

In our Workforce Series, where we share stories from local people who work in some of our region’s most important industries, we talk to Gordon Bouchard who recently took part in the Welding Training program through the Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre (OSTTC).

OSTTC is a community owned Indigenous training and post-secondary institute that serves The Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and surrounding communities and runs various skills training, professional development and trades programs. It is owned and operated under Grand River Employment Training Inc. and is located in the village of Ohsweken. 

Gordon now works as a welder for Walters Group in Princeton. Walters is a family owned steel construction company that designs, fabricates, and constructs commercial and industrial projects throughout North America. They often recruit for various opportunities on their Careers Page.

In our feature, Gordon talks about the high demand for welders, switching careers to secure his future and career options, his passion for his new role and the satisfaction he gets from feeling he is making a contribution to society through his work.

Watch our interview with Gordon here


Some additional highlights from Gordon:

“I knew there was a demand for the skilled trades and welding but I had no idea just how big it was, there are literally jobs everywhere. I had my own business for 20 years that was affected by the pandemic and going into welding was not only to create job security and provide for my family, it was coming full circle. I was considering becoming an auto mechanic when I was young, my father and grandfather were millwrights so I have those roots. It’s come full circle now with going into a second career doing something I enjoy, that mentally stimulates me and that I expect to do until I retire”  

“The OSTTC program was great – during the 8-week program I attained 5 welding certificates and had the qualifications to get my foot in the door after completing the program.

“My work with Walters has allowed me to be part of exciting projects. Additionally, I recently worked on a pavilion that is being donated back to the local community and I look forward to taking my kids to see it when it is installed it the spring”

On advice to young people – be flexible – when you are young and not tied down and you want to get ahead and make as much money as possible, take the different shifts and work your way in…it may be tough for a few years but then you will get to pick and choose more of what fits your life and home situation when you are older”

“My long-term goal is to get into quality control/inspection in another 10 years after getting all the tickets and training to get me there – and by then expertise in the field under my belt”

Thank you to Gordon for sharing his story with us! Looking to explore a career or find a job? Check out Grand Erie Jobs – the biggest career and job site in our region!


Employment steady but jobless rate jumps

Employment steady but jobless rate jumps

November 2021 employment held firm in Brantford, but for the second straight month the local jobless rate jumped as more people entered the job market.

The city’s November unemployment rate was estimated at 7.6%, up from 7.2% in October, based on a Statistics Canada survey of residents conducted Nov. 7 to 13.

The spike in the jobless rate was due to an additional 500 people entering the labour force, not because of overall job losses, since Brantford’s employment rate held steady at 61.7% in November.

Across Canada, employment grew by an impressive 154,000, dropping the national monthly jobless rate to 6%. Almost half of the job gains took place in Ontario, which added 68,000 jobs and saw its unemployment rate shrink to 6.4% – the lowest since pre-pandemic February 2020.

Labour force swells

Brantford’s labour force has swelled by 1,300 people since September, while the number of people working has remained unchanged.

“It is considered a good sign when people join or rejoin the labour force,” said Workforce Plannng Board Executive Director Danette Dalton. “But it could take time for these new job seekers to find work that matches their skills and experience.”

November 2021 employment grew locally in several industries, led by retail trade, which has seen job gains of 1,600 since September. These gains have been offset by job losses in other industries, particularly in manufacturing.

Job losses have been more pronounced for young workers ages 15 – 24, but the figures suggest that many left full-time work over the last couple of months to go to school.

Top in-demand jobs

Over the last several months, employment has fallen for males 45 years and older, but has increased for males 25 to 44. Employment for females has been steadier, except for fewer women ages 15 to 24 working, partly due to some returning to school. Enrolment in post-secondary is higher among females.

There were about 3,200 new jobs listed in November on Grand Erie Jobs job board. The No. 1 job posted was material handler, followed by general farm worker. Many farmers start trying to recruit workers in the autumn for work starting next spring.

Other top in-demand jobs include retail salespersons, home support workers, cooks, customer service representatives, nurses and retail managers.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on November 2021 employment in Canada and Ontario.

Seasons Retirement Community in Brantford hiring

Seasons Retirement Community in Brantford hiring

About Seasons: Established in 2009, Seasons is a Canadian company that owns and operates senior retirement communities in Ontario and Alberta. Driven by their corporate vision to “Connect, Care, Change,” Seasons’ management team has developed a culture that is dedicated to providing residents with superior customer service. They want their residents to feel proud to call Seasons home and to know they are surrounded by people who genuinely care.

Where they are located: 55 Diana Avenue, Brantford. Set in a quiet, residential neighbourhood in the west end of Brantford, surrounded by landscaped gardens, Seasons Brantford is a short drive to local shopping, restaurants and city amenities. The community includes townhomes and suites with patios as an option for independent living.

Values: Seasons believes that every team member plays an important role in the overall happiness of their residents. They strive to foster a culture of growth and support for their team members. There are numerous examples of service team members who have been with Seasons since they opened and many who have moved upwards to different opportunities in the company as they further their career goals.

Seasons strives for service excellence and hires individuals who are committed to building meaningful relationships with residents, team members and visitors. Keen attention to details, going the extra mile and putting a little “wow” into everything they do is the Seasons way. They offer job training and skill development that helps their employees prepare for advancement.

Rated as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Seasons is honoured to be among the best-in-class Canadian-owned and managed companies demonstrating leadership in strategy, capabilities and innovation, culture and commitment, and financials to achieve sustainable growth. Seasons was also certified as a Great Place to Work® in 2021 for a second consecutive year. This includes being recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Healthcare.

Whether you are interested in care, dining services, recreation, sales, business or environmental management, Service Team Member and Service Team Leader level positions are available at various Seasons Retirement Communities right now!

Apply today:

Also visit Grand Erie Jobs – the biggest career and job site in our region.


Big opportunities to work in trades careers

Big opportunities to work in trades careers

There are big opportunities for careers in the trades, with strong demand, lots of jobs and good wages.

There are so many opportunities that even people who’ve never considered the trades should take a look.

Skilled trades workers build and maintain infrastructures like our homes, schools, hospitals, roads, farms and parks. They keep industries running and perform many services we rely on every day. Their work requires a great amount of skill and skilled tradespeople often use advanced, modern technology.

Strong demand

There is strong demand right now from local employers for people to work in skilled trades jobs. And that demand is expected to remain strong for years to come, especially as people in their 50s and 60s who are currently working in the trades retire.

Strong stability

Stability goes hand in hand with demand. Since the demand is expected to continue for many years, people working in the trades should see good job security and stable careers

Strong wages

Wages for the trades are strong and it’s possible to make above average.

Here are some examples of skilled trades positions in high demand in the Grand Erie region that includes Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Construction Electrician: Install, troubleshoot and repair electrical wiring and equipment, such as wiring a new home or building. These electricians usually work for contractors or may be self employed. Median annual salary: $65,000.

Industrial Electrician: Install, troubleshoot and maintain electrical equipment in factories. These electricians may work directly for the company or may work for a contractor. Median annual salary: $69,000.

Millwright: Maintain and repair industrial machinery and equipment, such as machines used by manufacturers to make products. Some millwrights work for contractors who are called into factories, while others may work directly for the manufacturer. Median annual salary: $67,000.

Plumber: Install and repair plumbing in a wide variety of settings, including homes, buildings and factories. Some work for contactors or are self employed. Median annual salary: $64,000.

Welder: Weld metals for a wide variety of purposes, such as structural steel used in buildings or joining parts together. Welders work in a variety of settings, from large manufacturers to small welding shops. Welding is sometimes a stepping stone to other skilled trades. Median annual salary: $45,000.

Machinists: Set up and operate machine tools to make products out of metal, plastic or other material. They are employed in manufacturing, such as automotive parts making, plastics products, and more. Median annual salary: $53,000.

Auto service technician: Maintain and repair cars, trucks and buses. Technicians may work for a car dealership or a garage, or may own their own business. Some people specialize in transport trucks or buses. Median annual salary: $51,000.


Despite the positives, many businesses are having trouble attracting people to work in the trades.

One major reason is the negative stigma about the trades. Many young people are not exposed to the trades and never find out about the opportunities.

Other youth are discouraged from pursuing their interests, either by parents or teachers, because the skilled trades are viewed incorrectly as repetitive, dirty, dangerous, low-paying career options. Students in high school may only be encouraged to look at the trades if they struggle with academics or deemed unsuitable for college or university.

Main factors contributing to labour shortages in the skilled trades include:

  • Stigma around the trades
  • Students’ limited exposure to the trades
  • Impact of retirements
  • The soft skills gap (not prepared for work, poor attitudes regarding work)
  • Inadequate training (Mentors not prepared/skilled to train apprentices/incompatibility with apprentice)


People who work in the skilled trades have high job and career satisfaction.

According to research from Job Talks, a Canadian website that promotes the trades:

  • 73 per cent of skilled trades workers feel that they put in an honest days’ work most days, as compared to 66 per cent for the rest of Canadian workers;
  • 68 per cent of skilled trades workers said that their work gives them a sense of success and achievement, as compared to 49 per cent of the rest of Canadian workers;
  • 60 per cent said that they often have fun while they are working versus 43 per cent in other professions;


There are a number of routes people can take to get the training and education needed to get into the trades.

Secondary School: Students in high school may have an opportunity to take a Specialized High School Major in a trade or may go on a co-op placement. Students may also be able to take pre-apprenticeship training while in high school through an Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) program.

Community college: Local colleges such as Conestoga College, Fanshawe College, Mohawk College and Six Nations Polytechnic offer training programs in a wide variety of trades. This includes a number of apprenticeship programs.

Apprenticeships: People who are hired by businesses as an apprentice learn both on the job and at school, completing a specific number of in-class hours. This allows people to earn money while they learn and while they advance at a company. Those interested in an apprenticeship can register with to explore the skilled trades and to find an employer.


There are many online resources for anyone who wants more information about working in the trades in Ontario and Canada.

To get an idea of how many jobs there are in any occupation in the trades, search Grand Erie Jobs, our region’s largest job board. The job board can also be used to identify which local businesses hire for the trades.

Watch this short video from the Government of Ontario about working in the trades.

The organizations Skills Ontario and Careers in Trades promote the trades and have lots of information.

Brantford jobless rate jumped in October

Brantford jobless rate jumped in October

October 2021 employment remained steady in Brantford, but the jobless rate still climbed significantly as more people entered the job market. 

October’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2%, more than a percentage point higher than September’s 6.1%, according to estimates released by Statistics Canada, based on a survey of residents conducted earlier in the month.

By comparison, Ontario’s monthly unemployment rate declined to 7% in October, while Canada’s national rate fell to 6.7%.

In Brantford Brant, the numbers may not be as negative as they first appear, according to a news release from the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

Almost the same number of people were employed in October as the month before. There was also an influx of about 800 people entering or re-entering the labour force, leading to the highest level of participation in months.

But the October 2021 employment numbers suggest that not all those who entered the labour force were able to find suitable jobs.

“There are some positive numbers and our hope is that the jump in unemployment is only a temporary spike,” said Danette Dalton, the organization’s executive director. “People who have just started looking for work may be taking more time to find a job they like, or they may be looking to change careers.”

Dalton said there is a lot of help in the community for people looking to change careers. People can talk to job counsellors at Employment Ontario agencies and they can explore occupations and careers online by using Grand Erie Jobs.

“Besides listing about 1,900 current jobs on its job board, Grand Erie Jobs shows people what occupations are in highest demand locally, local wage rates and which local companies hire regularly,” she said.

Employment grew in more than half of industry sectors, led by job gains in professional services, construction and retail. Those gains were offset by fewer people working in sectors such as manufacturing, public administration and agriculture.

Fewer people in the 15 – 24 age group, which includes many post-secondary students, worked in October. But employment grew for both men and women in the core 25 – 54 age group. Participation in the labour force by this age group increased for the first time since March.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on October 2021 employment in Canada and Ontario.

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