In-demand jobs tells us what employers are hiring for.

Material handler was the top job in demand from Grand Erie area employers in the last half of 2020.

There were more than 1,000 job postings for material handlers on the Workforce Planning Board’s job search site Grand Erie Jobs from July to December last year.

Other in-demand jobs businesses have been hiring for most frequently include farm worker, home support worker, retail salesperson and delivery driver, but there has been strong demand for people with a wide variety of skills and education.

·         Top professional and managerial positions: registered nurses, retail trade managers and financial officers.

·         Top technical and skilled occupations: practical nurses, dental assistants, social workers, teacher assistants and cooks.

·         Top labouring occupations: construction labourers, light duty cleaners, janitors, and food counter attendants.

Many jobs are stepping stones to higher skilled positions, with employees going back to school or taking advantage of training programs offered by their employer. Some employers help pay for tuition.

Material handlers typically work in the warehouses or distribution centres of stores and manufacturers. They load, unload and move material or products, either by hand or by using machines such as forklifts. Work may include counting and packing material to fill orders, then putting them on trucks.

With an increase in online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a jump in hiring in area warehouses. There are companies that hire material handlers in Brantford, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties and on Six Nations.

Working as a material handler would suit many people, from young workers who are starting off to older workers returning to the job market or wanting to change careers.

There’s a free job training program in Brantford called Skills2Advance that trains people for work in the manufacturing and warehousing industry in jobs such as material handling.

Participants get in-class and hands-on experience, gaining their forklift and reach truck certification, and get a paid placement with a local business. To find out more, visit the Skills2Advance website.

Here’s a rundown on the other Top-5 in demand jobs locally, with the number of postings over a six-month period:

General Farm Worker: 803 jobs. Farmers have been encouraging local residents to work in agriculture, emphasizing the important work farm workers do to keep Canadians fed. The work can appeal to people who like to work outdoors or with livestock and have a strong work ethic.

Retail Salesperson: 593 jobs. Businesses are always looking for staff who have good people and customer service skills, while many salespeople are attracted to flexible hours.

Home Support Worker: 588 jobs. Personal Support Workers (PSW) make up the majority of jobs. PSWs work in nursing homes, private homes and other facilities, helping care for people . The wages appear to be increasing.

There are a number of routes to become a home support worker, including a job training program offered by CareerLink in Brantford and college programs offered by Six Nations Polytechnic, Conestoga College and Fanshawe College’s Simcoe campus. Some offer “fast track” programs, so that becoming a PSW takes less time than in the past.

Workers who have been laid off may be eligible for government money, through a program called Second Career, to go back to school to become a PSW.

Delivery Drivers & Couriers: 311 jobs. Thanks to an increase in online shopping, there’s a steady demand for people to work as delivery drivers.

There has long been a strong demand for nurses and that is expected to continue in the next many years. That is also true for transport truck drivers, as many drivers are retiring.

To find out more information on 500 different occupations, including typical wages, check out the Career Explorer tool on Grand Erie Jobs.


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