Hundreds attend online Job Fair & Skills Exploration event

Hundreds attend online Job Fair & Skills Exploration event

Hundreds of area residents took part in the Grand Erie Job Fair & Skills Exploration Event, held entirely online Oct. 6.

People who attended the online job fair were able to meet and chat with 45 different exhibitors, the majority of whom were employers. Attendees learned about their businesses, job openings and skill requirements. In many cases, participants could submit resumes or apply for jobs. Several post-secondary schools and trades associations were also on hand to talk about their training and education programs.

The keynote speaker for the event was Mandy Rennehan, a Canadian success story known for promoting the trades as just as good as white-collar careers. Jon Callegher of Job Talks spoke about the 5 Secrets of the Trades, including that people who work in the trades are happier and have a high level of job satisfaction. Not to mention great wages and other pluses.

There were also panel discussions featuring local business owners, tradespeople and educators: one on the building/construction trades, a business panel, and another on Skills for Agriculture.

The job fair was aimed at residents from the communities of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit. They could access the event on their computers, tablets and smartphones.

The day-long online event took place on vFairs, a virtual event platform that uses advanced 3D technology to create a live event experience complete with exhibitor booths in a hall and an auditorium. 

The event’s goal was to connect job seekers and people considering new careers with employers, as well as promote the message that there are tremendous opportunities to work in a variety of trades, especially since the Grand Erie region and Canada have a skilled trades shortage.

People who registered for the event can access speakers and webinars by signing back into vFairs.

Videos of the webinars are available here and on YouTube.

Construction/Building Trades Video

Business Panel Video

Skills for Agriculture Video

Employers speak up in COVID-19 Road to Recovery survey

Employers speak up in COVID-19 Road to Recovery survey

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns shocked businesses and the workforce across the Grand Erie area in an unprecedented manner starting in March 2020.

In the following months, as businesses began to contemplate, prepare, and execute plans to reopen, community organizations looked to identify interventions required to address the needs of the labour market in the immediate future.

The results of a survey of businesses paints a picture of the challenges and opportunities facing employers as they navigate the road to recovery from COVID-19.

Read Road to Recovery: COVID-19 Business Insights Survey.

The Grand Erie COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, created by the Workforce Planning Board recognized the need for evidence-based decision making and strong actions driven by and for the community. The group examined the needs of businesses within the communities of Six Nations, New Credit, City of Brantford, and Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk counties.

Survey questions were developed to assess the impact of the pandemic on local employers and evaluate the demand for various strategies and solutions to address their emerging needs.

The survey was conducted online between July 6, 2020 to Aug. 14, 2020 and engaged 195 businesses across various sectors within the Grand Erie region.

This report dives into the results of the survey, revealing critical shifts in the business landscape and noting differences by sector and business size. Key findings include:

·       Significant decrease in demand for goods and services among one-third of businesses

·       Wide-spread concerns about access to PPE in the short and medium term

·       High levels of interest in skills training to support recent shifts in skills-in-demand

·       Challenges with hiring in the current atmosphere

The findings of this survey are intended to provide residents, businesses, and government leaders across Grand Erie with the knowledge they need to make informed action plans as we travel on the road to recovery.

Virtual Job Fair & Skills Exploration Event Oct. 6

Virtual Job Fair & Skills Exploration Event Oct. 6

The Grand Erie Virtual Job Fair & Skills Exploration Event will be held entirely online Oct. 6, 2020 for the communities of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit.

Organized by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie and the regional Skilled Trades Alliance, this event will allow job seekers to connect with local employers remotely using cell phones, tablets or computers.

People will have an opportunity to learn about exciting careers in the skilled trades and other major sectors, as well as learn about local training, apprenticeships and future job trends.

The focus is promoting occupations in Grand Erie, community building, and inspiring individuals to succeed. Participants can “meet” and chat with employers in need of workers, now or in the future.

Over 35 regional companies and organizations will be exhibiting their programs and job opportunities.

The day-long virtual event will take place on vFairs, a virtual event platform that uses advanced 3D technology to create a live event experience complete with exhibitor booths in a hall, panel discussions, webinars and an auditorium.

Participants would be able to interact with exhibitors in real time via chat, email or Zoom video-conferencing.

Celebrity trades promoter Mandy Rennehan will be the keynote speaker for the event.


For more information, contact:

July job numbers show Brantford recovery started

July job numbers show Brantford recovery started

Brantford is on the road to recovery, with July job numbers indicating a 2% drop in the unemployment rate since June.

According to a Statistics Canada survey conducted July 12 to July 18, an estimated 1,500 less were unemployed in June, bringing Brantford’s unemployment rate down to 10.6%, down from 12.6%. Employment grew even more significantly, indicating that many more people are looking for and finding work.

Canada’s employment grew by 419,000, bringing the national unemployment rate down to 10.9%. Provincially, the unemployment rate fell to 11.3% as 151,000 more people found work.

Some surrounding metropolitan areas – including Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara and Guelph – saw decreases in their jobless rates as well.

Most of the employment gains in our region were in full-time work, driven largely by growth in the manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade industries.

Training program wants employers to work with

Training program wants employers to work with

An innovative program that trains people to work in Grand Erie industry has a new name and expanded focus.

Skills2Advance is the new name for the free program, formerly known as connect2SKILLS, offered by the
Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. The expanded focus means people will be trained to work in
manufacturing as well as warehousing-logistics.

We listened to the employers in our community who said they wanted the program to grow to train
people to work in manufacturing, which is our area’s No. 1 employer,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce
Planning Board’s executive director. “This means we’ll be able to assist more businesses with their HR

Dalton said Skills2Advance is looking for more businesses in both manufacturing and warehousing to
partner with. Companies can use the program at no cost to tap into needed workersto fill vacant positions
at a faster pace and are also eligible for hiring and training incentives, she said.

“Skills2Advance’s additional focus will help more people train to do more work,” said Will Bouma, MPP
for Brantford-Brant. “This means more people ready for manufacturing jobs in Brantford-Brant and we
are glad to support the work done by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.”

“We need effective training and retraining programs to help people and businesses get back to work,”
said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “As we carefully reopen
our economy, employers need skilled workers. Our government is proud to support programs that help
local workers and job seekers train for new careers.”

The program has a proven track record of training and placing participants in jobs. Eighty per cent of its
81 graduates found placements, which have turned into full time employment opportunities. Local
companies that have participated have included Mabe Canada, Hematite, Patriot Forge, Marco
Corporation, Brimich Logistics and Toyotetsu.

The program includes six weeks of classroom learning – currently adapted to be online – with the
opportunity for participants to have a two-week paid job placement. Students learn about lean
manufacturing, continuous improvement, dispatching, material handling, shipping/receiving and more.

Participants receive certifications in forklift/reach truck, first aid/CPR, and fall arrest. They earn three
college credits through Conestoga College. Brant Skills Centre provides training in essential and soft skills.

Skills2Advance is free to employers and participants. Participants must either be unemployed or under
employed. The Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the
Government of Ontario.

For more information about the program, people can email:




Job numbers slow to rebound so far in Brantford

Job numbers slow to rebound so far in Brantford

The gradual economic rebound from COVID-19 hasn’t shown up in the job numbers for Brantford just yet.

An estimated 10,000 Brantford area residents were unemployed in June, according to a Statistics Canada survey conducted mid-month. There was a greater influx in job seekers than jobs, which pushed up the local jobless rate to 12.6%, from 11.3% in May. Norfolk’s jobless rate was 10.2%.

For Canada, employment grew in June by 953,000, dropping the month’s jobless rate to 12.3%, down from 13% in May. Meanwhile, employment grew by an estimated 377,000 in Ontario and the monthly unemployment rate fell to 12.2%.

Each metropolitan area near Brantford also saw their jobless rate climb last month: Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara, London, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.

“Since mid-June when Statistics Canada conducted its survey, we’ve seen more Brantford area businesses bring people back to work, including manufacturers, retail stores and restaurants that have opened patios,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“The pace of recovery may appear slow, but it is underway. We’re optimistic that the job numbers will look better next month.”

The Workforce Planning Board launched a new local job board called Grand Erie Jobs in late June and there is currently about 1,000 active postings.  

The Top-5 positions in demand from Grand Erie employers were retail salespersons, personal support workers, material handlers, transport truck drivers and delivery/courier drivers. About 90% of employer postings were for full-time positions.

Only 60% of users of the Grand Erie Jobs portal were looking for full-time work, with the other 40% searching for part-time or temporary positions. The Top-3 positions searched for matched the most frequently posted jobs: retail salespersons, PSWs and material handlers.


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