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Weyburn Chamber hosts jobs summit with industry, students

SE College and Weyburn Comp take part in summit

WEYBURN – A summit on the local jobs situation was hosted by the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce at Southeast College on Wednesday, with a number of issues discussed, including the current shortage of labour across all sectors.

“We had industry, representing employers from industries, retail, oilfield, carpentry, and we had representatives from Sask Jobs, as well as Southeast College, the Weyburn Comprehensive School and students,” said Larry Heggs, executive director of the Weyburn Chamber, who provides programs and services for SaskJobs in Weyburn.

“We had the opportunity to chat about what employers see as the future, what the government numbers say, what the work force demands and labour demands are, what high-demand positions are available,” said Heggs, adding he spoke about what he is seeing in the business community.

Staff from the Weyburn Comp were present, and Heggs said the students were asked about what they are hoping for and what is important to them going forward, whether it’s flexibility from employers or stability in their jobs.

The students were also asked if they want to work in Weyburn or area, he added.

“A lot of them didn’t realize the potential they had locally for jobs,” he said, noting some professional positions pay better here than in larger urban centres.

“I would say there was really good support from the students,” said Heggs. “They were quite interested in the pay scales. They also asked for flexibility, but understand also that businesses still need to operate.”

On the business side, Heggs noted “there is high industry demands in all areas, whether it’s retail or trades,” and pointed out that the current labour shortage came up time and time again in all fields.

“Everybody seem to be short of people,” said Heggs. “From the chamber’s perspective, that’s really sad.”

He noted as an example he knows of a service rig company that has rigs sitting in their yard because they can’t find enough workers.

The college had representation at the meeting as they can be very quick and responsive according to labour demands. Heggs noted if an industry needs certain positions, the college can put together a course for that need very quickly, in a far shorter time than a university or technical institute in a larger centre.

The Chamber may hold these type of summits more often, to maintain the dialogue between schools and the labour market.

“If we have strong chambers, we have good business development,” said Heggs.