Oxford County is not immune to a chronic labour shortage being seen in many areas of the province, but a co-op education program is hoping to close the gap.
Community Employment Services Oxford (CES) is marketing its high school co-op education program to local employers in order to increase the numbers of available, local workers. Kyle Rose is a Program Coordinator for the organization, and he said the joint effort between CES, the Thames Valley District School Board and other community partners is looking ahead. “We are focusing on building up the future workforce of Oxford County by providing high school students with the opportunity to see what kinds of work experiences and opportunities are available to them once they graduate.”
Co-op education has been around for years, but Kyle said they have given their program a facelift. “We have completely revamped the local employment portal, workinoxford.ca, to make it a little more streamlined and accessible for employers to post their available jobs, and co-op positions.” He added that the program is hoping to represent every corner of the local business community. “It would be ideal if the high school students would look at the co-op postings and perhaps have some exposure to different kinds of work that is already in line with their interests or might spark an interest in a future career for them.”
There is a sense among our young adults they need to leave Oxford County to find a career they are interested in. Kyle wanted to let them know that simply isn’t the case. “There are a lot of opportunities here for you to have the kind of work that you are interested in doing. I think a lot of students have the psyche that they need to leave the County to find meaningful work or the kind of work they enjoy. This has ultimately resulted in a huge labour shortage that is concerning for local employers. There are opportunities here.”
Kyle said the number of available jobs in Oxford will continue to rise due to the fact Woodstock and Oxford County are growing faster than they ever have, and he added that now is the time for employers to gear up as the pandemic recovery continues. “A lot of employers are still in their summer mode of operation. September almost feels like a world away, but we are encouraging employers to look ahead at what their reality is going to be, especially when things open a little more. Some businesses are going into recovery mode after several lockdowns, and this is a free program for employers which makes it an incredibly valuable resource.”
For more information on the services offered by Community Employment Services Oxford, go to their website at http://www.cesoxford.ca/