Free program will train people to be welders

Free program will train people to be welders

Free welding training is being offered to give 150 people a head start to work as welders, helping meet the needs of local companies hungry for workers.

The Workforce Planning Board will provide the program through its Skills2Advance Welding training arm, in partnership with the CWB Welding Foundation. Training will be delivered by four area colleges.

The two-week-long classes start in June and will be offered regularly over the next year. Participants will be recruited from Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties. Residents of Hamilton, Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo and Oxford County can also sign up.

Two-thirds of participants for the free welding training are expected to be women, a group that is underrepresented in the skilled trades. Only 10 per cent of welders in Grand Erie are female. There will also be opportunities for people who have a disability, youth, and other groups that are underrepresented in the trades.

Tremendous opportunity

“This is a tremendous opportunity for people to get started in the skilled trades with this high-demand occupation and start building their career,” said Danette Dalton, the planning board’s executive director. “We’re excited to work with the CWB Welding Foundation, area post-secondary schools and other community partners to give people the skills they need to succeed.”

People can find more information about the program by visiting

The CWB Welding Foundation has for years operated training programs for welders across Canada. Its Women of Steel program has trained hundreds of women since 2019, while its Mind Over Metal program has been in operation since 2014

The Women of Steel and Mind Over Metal curriculum will be delivered by instructors from Six Nations Polytechnic, Conestoga College, and Fanshawe College – Simcoe campus, using their welding shops. Mohawk College will provide training at its mobile classroom, which houses welding simulators in a truck trailer.

Minister of Labour

The one-year project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

“With many tradespeople set to retire over the next decade, we need to do all we can to encourage people to consider careers in welding,” said Minister Monte McNaughton.

“Our government is proud to support this program, which will give future tradespeople, including women and people with disabilities, a head start in planning their careers, and help local employers find the workers they need to grow their business.”

It will include 30 hours of hands-on training, with the opportunity to obtain a CWB welding certification. Another 30 hours will focus on training in first aid, CPR, forklift and working at heights, and soft skills, such as problem-solving and workplace communications.

Free welding toolkit

Program participants will receive a free welding toolkit, which includes a welding helmet, and will be eligible to receive additional support to help cover other expenses, such as work boots.

When they graduate, participants will be assisted by local employment service agencies who will work with local businesses to offer on-the-job placements, which could lead to permanent positions.

“The goal is to find employment for participants, and we expect the program to be warmly received by employers,” Dalton said. “Welders are in demand, and that demand is expected to continue. We need to ensure there are new, eager workers entering the field.”

To learn more about job opportunities in welding, visit this page on Grand Erie Jobs: Welding careers

Brantford area jobless rate falls to 5.5%

Brantford area jobless rate falls to 5.5%

February 2022 employment numbers saw Brantford matching the 5.5% jobless rate recorded in Canada and Ontario.

About 800 more people were employed in the Brantford area last month, which led to the jobless rate falling a full percentage point from January’s 6.5% figure, according to estimates released by Statistics Canada on Friday.

The local unemployment rate has declined for several straight months, but February was the first time recently that it fell due to employment gains. Earlier declines were due to people leaving the labour force.

“It is great to see so many more getting back to work,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board. “There are many opportunities out there for job seekers, and many businesses are frustrated they can’t find people.”

A whopping 337,000 jobs were added across Canada, with Ontario accounting for 194,000 of those gains. About 114,000 jobs were gained across the country in accommodations and food services and a further 73,000 gains in culture, information and recreation – industries particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

It was good news almost across the board for Canada in general. There were job gains for both sexes, all age groups, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and in most industries.

Brantford’s data for February 2022 employment suggest there were job gains in the service sector overall, especially in public administration, but fewer people were working in wholesale/retail trade. Employment was also down in manufacturing. Full-time employment was up overall and part-time work down slightly for both sexes, but men in the core working age group of 25-54 saw more gains.

In February, there were close to 3,000 job postings on Grand Erie Jobs, the community’s largest job board run by the Workforce Planning Board.

“There are many options for people entering the job market and there are many employers who want them,” Dalton said.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on February 2022 employment in Canada and Ontario.

Jobless rate drops without job gains

Jobless rate drops without job gains

January 2022 employment numbers for Brantford showed the unemployment plunged, but it was due to people leaving the labour force, not job gains.

The local unemployment rate for January was 6.5%, down from 7.6% in December, based on a survey conducted by Statistics Canada during the week of Jan. 9 to 15, soon after Ontario started a lockdown designed to lessen the impact of the Omicron virus.

Canada’s unemployment rate edged up to 6.5% in January, after employment fell by 200,000, attributed to lockdowns in several provinces that especially impacted women and youth working part time in service-related jobs. Ontario was the hardest hit province, losing 146,000 positions, causing the unemployment rate to jump to 7.3%.

“At first glance, it appears that the Brantford area bucked the trend and employment held steady despite the lockdown,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director. “However, other job numbers suggest more people have left the labour market, which may be concerning.”

Statistics Canada also collects data on the number of people “not in the labour force.” This includes people who are neither employed nor actively looking for work, such as retirees, students and caregivers.

January 2022 employment numbers showed an estimated 41,500 area residents aged 15 and over not in the labour force, the highest level in 20 months since May 2020, during the pandemic’s first wave. The largest increase in this category is among women in the 65+ age group, some of whom may have worked part time previously.

“Women and students who might typically work part time in service jobs in food and retail may have become especially discouraged by all the disruptions, the ups and downs, caused by the pandemic,” Dalton said. “Some of those workers may return to the labour market once things stabilize.”

Others may have chosen to go back to school to retrain for different careers, looking for more stability in their work lives and better pay, she added.

During January, there were about 3,000 job postings on Grand Erie Jobs, the region’s largest job board, which is operated by the Workforce Planning Board. The number had dipped in December after surpassing 3,200 a month last fall.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on January 2022 employment in Canada and Ontario.

New online info guide launched for area

New online info guide launched for area

A new online information guide makes it easier for residents to find local workforce-related resources and services.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie has added the Workforce Gateway tool to the large group of tools it already provides local job seekers and businesses.

Residents in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties can find services by answering several questions related to job hunting, running a business, boosting education and skills, or about community services.

Once someone narrows their search, the new online info guide will show them a list of local services and resources they can connect with.

“The Workforce Gateway connects people and businesses to a wealth of information and hundreds of services, all housed in one place,” said Danette Dalton, the board’s executive director. “We have tremendous services and supports in our communities, but it isn’t always easy to find out about them.”

Dalton said people looking for jobs or to build their skills could tap into numerous community services, such as talking to an employment counsellor, improving computer skills, writing resumes, learning about apprenticeships, finding daycares, renewing a driver’s license and getting a criminal reference check.

“One of our Government’s top priorities is to address the skilled worker shortage and labour force issues in general,” said Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma. “To see the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie centralize a place where job-seekers, entrepreneurs, educators and community services interact in one easy to navigate portal is a huge stride to achieving our common goals.”

The new online info guide also helps inform businesses about topics such as recruiting employees, government financial support programs, networking, employment standards regulations and more.

“The Gateway complements our existing Grand Erie Jobs online tools and adds more ways for business owners to find the information and services they can use to grow,” Dalton said.

Grand Erie Jobs features 8 different online tools, including the area’s most comprehensive job board and a Job Map that shows the location of job openings and community services.


Jobless rate drops in Brantford & Norfolk

Jobless rate drops in Brantford & Norfolk

December 2021 employment numbers saw the Brantford area jobless rate drop after a short-term jump the month before.

Brantford’s unemployment rate last month was 7.2%, down from November’s 7.6% but identical to October’s figure, according to results of a Statistics Canada survey conducted Dec. 5 to 11.

November’s unemployment figure had jumped after 500 people joined the labour force, only some of whom found work. The same number of people left the labour force in December, resulting in numbers stabilizing.

In Norfolk, the jobless rate fell over the last 3 months to 7.8%, even though overall employment dipped.

Employment rose by 55,000 across Canada in December, resulting in a drop in the monthly national unemployment rate to 5.9%. Ontario saw the bulk of the job gains and its monthly rate fell to 6% – the lowest since February 2020, pre-pandemic.

“The number of employed people in the Brantford area has been fairly consistent over the last six months,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director. “This coincides with a period of stability with the pandemic and few restrictions on businesses.”

Dalton said it will be interesting to see what impact restrictions re-applied in January will have on job numbers. “If we can get the latest pandemic wave under control, affects on the labour force will hopefully be minor and short lived,” she said.

December 2021 employment data shows that full-time employment increased for Brantford residents in the 25 to 44 age group, with the gains shared between men and women. Meanwhile, fewer men and women in the 45+ age group worked in December. Since December 2020, the 45+ age group has seen the largest increase in full time employment.

Employment grew in retail in December, in line with the holiday shopping season. This helped offset a drop in the number of people working in manufacturing, an industry that has seen several months of employment declines.

There were about 2,400 new job postings in December on Grand Erie Jobs, the Workforce Planning Board’s community job board. That was down from about 3,200 in November.

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

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.

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