Skilled labour - Suncor's 2013 Report on Sustainability
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For several years, business and industry have been preparing for the time when baby boomers retire from the workforce, while the demand for skilled labour in the oil and gas and construction sectors increases. Suncor has developed a proactive approach to managing our skilled and technical workforce needs and requirements today and into the future.
Of course, our preference is to hire from and grow local talent pools from the communities where we currently operate. However, sometimes with our large-scale maintenance and construction projects, not all our skilled labour needs can be met locally. We look for qualified candidates across Canada first and then internationally to create the skilled and robust workforce we need.
We believe the best way to meet our skilled and technical workforce demands is to use a multi-pronged approach.
Along with our industry partners, we work to build awareness of employment opportunities and the important role skilled tradespeople play in our industry and in Canada's economy.
This includes telling an authentic and compelling employment story in print and social media. It also means engaging a broader and more diverse workforce in exploring career options within the sector. We work to accomplish this through our work with First Nations communities and unique groups like CAREERS: The Next Generation in Edmonton, Alta., which partners with government, educators, communities, industry, parents and students to introduce youth in high school to these rewarding career opportunities and develop the skilled workers of the future.
We also look to inform all Canadians about our industry and the advancements in technology to show people the variety of employment opportunities. Suncor partners with groups such as Calgary Economic Development and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation to tell the Alberta labour story nationally and internationally — this helps us attract qualified people to the province.
We are also active members in the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, a national non-profit organization that connects Canada's apprenticeship community. Everyone with an interest in skilled trades continues to work collaboratively to support vibrant and innovative apprenticeship systems and policies, with a view to developing a highly skilled, inclusive and mobile skilled trades workforce.
Suncor's executive team has an important role to play in sharing our industry's employment story as well. Through our Speakers Bureau program, they provide speeches and presentations to a variety of stakeholder groups across North America and beyond.
We are supporters of educational institutions offering programs that feed our workforce. For example, Suncor and Keyano College in Fort McMurray, Alta. have a long-term partnership to help meet industry needs for skilled trades in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, primarily to support the college's mining and process operations programs. Suncor has invested more than $3.7 million since 1998.
Through our robust campus recruiting program, we visit dozens of schools across Canada each year, talking with students about trades and technical careers in the energy sector. We also work with organizations like Skills Canada (Alberta and Ontario) to educate youth, parents and high-school counsellors about opportunities to work in skilled trades as youth make decisions about their future career opportunities.
In 2013, we made a commitment through our Suncor Energy Foundation to support Skills in the Classroom, a new Skills Canada Alberta initiative that brings a journeyperson into junior and senior high classrooms to highlight the opportunities of pursuing a trades career in Alberta's fastest growing industries, like the oil sands.
Once someone makes the decision to enter the trades, we actively support apprentices by hiring them. As the future journeypersons in our industry, supporting apprentices is essential to developing the skilled trades portion of our future workforce and achieving our high safety and reliability standards. One example is our participation in Alberta's Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) for high-school students who know they want to pursue a career in the trades. These students have the opportunity to earn credit for their apprenticeship by dividing their time between an approved work site like ours and their high-school studies.
We also support a number of post-secondary co-op education programs, such as our involvement in Mohawk College and the Hamilton Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Consortium in Ontario, which provides students with work experience placements at our lubricants business in Mississauga.
We know how important it is to collaborate with other companies in our industry to attract skilled workers. Suncor and seven other oil sands construction owners have formed the Association for Construction Worker Acquisition (ACWA) to work with government to address the shortage of skilled construction workers in the Alberta oil sands region. ACWA's chair is Ron Genereux, Suncor's vice president, operating plant projects, Major Projects.
In 2013, Suncor, along with construction industry leaders from across Canada, formed BuildForce Canada, a new national organization to help keep a steady flow of highly skilled workers available to the growing construction industry, where the pinch for skilled labour will be felt the most.
Suncor is also a member of the Alberta Council of Turnaround Industry Maintenance Stakeholders, which is a not-for-profit organization representing:
This unique collaboration benefits both the industry and people qualified to work in the heavy industrial maintenance industry.
The benefits to the prospective tradesperson are that their resume is shared with and reviewed by many contractors, and they have the opportunity to work on multiple sites, one after the other. Industry benefits by ensuring the timely acquisition of skilled and qualified workers for the owners' turnaround maintenance events.
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