Students are pleased with many of the recommendations within the Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel Report Building the Workforce of Tomorrow: A Shared Responsibility, published today. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) was included in the consultations leading up to this report, which offers recommendations that are in line with our recently updated Student Employment Policy.
“This report rightly emphasizes the goal of increasing experiential learning and mentorship opportunities for students from underrepresented groups within just 6 months,” says Jamie Cleary, President of OUSA. “All willing and qualified students should be able to benefit from experiential learning opportunities while they attend university. We hope this report signals the government’s commitment to this necessary change."
The report also stresses the role of employers while recognizing the legitimate challenges facing small and medium sized enterprises seeking to offer these opportunities. Providing support to these employers is essential to ensure adequate numbers of experiential learning opportunities for students at organizations of all sizes.
“We are happy to see many of OUSA’s recommendations reflected in this report, such as the use of incentives to ensure that experiential learning is available to all students.” says Zachary Rose, Executive Director. “Funding more, and longer, co-operative placements, internships, and alternatives is going to have a demonstrated positive impact on the professional development and transferable skills students will take with them to the workforce."
The report recognizes that improving the workforce for youth is a shared responsibility, but it will be important for clear articulation on the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder and to not offload tasks onto universities where it might not be appropriate.
OUSA is appreciative of the expediency with which these recommendations are forecasted to be implemented and is excited for Ontario to lead a national effort to modernize and harmonize the data collection for labor market information.
To read the Premier’s High Skilled Workforce Expert Panel report, click here.
To read OUSA’s Student Employment Policy, click here.