According to a Boating Ontario Association survey conducted in December 2015, there will be approximately 600 marine job openings in 2016 across the province. Some 200 of those jobs are for new, entry-level positions or those entering through a marine apprenticeship.
This year, there will be only 15 graduates to fill the demand for those 200 entry-level jobs. The industry survey indicates that the job demand will carry through into 2017 and 2018 as well.
In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Regional Tourism Organization 7 and the Boating Ontario Association, a unique workforce development program, Catch The Wave, is designed to provide the tools needed to recruit students. The marine industry in Ontario has been working with Georgian College's Midland Campus to establish a state-of-the-art marine training facility for the colleges Marine Mechanic program (eight months). However, despite the desperate need for employees, the question remains: where and how does the industry find new students to enroll in the course?
"We are seeking volunteers to champion the program at the grassroots level,' implores Rob Davidson, Program Coordinator at Georgian College. "With student recruitment activities occurring at high schools and learning centres throughout much of the province, now is the time to educate students about the career opportunities in the marine industry. The goal of the program is to recruit as many interested students as we can to help fill this critical void in the marine industry.'
Boating Ontario is asking marine industry members for help by volunteering their time to promote the program. The association also promises to provide volunteers the necessary tools for providing this assistance to the Catch The Wave program.
The association provided specifics on the kind of assistance it is seeking through a recent letter: "If you are a school official, guidance counselor or a technical teacher, and would like us to visit your school, contact us today to schedule a presentation. If you are a parent, grandparent or interested in the course and would like more information, please feel free to contact us today.'
The other challenges of attracting young people to the recreational marine trade include the difficulty of finding year round work as well as sub-poverty salary levels. For a closer look at the average pay scale of an apprentice marine mechanic, see the By The Numbers section of Boating Business January/February.
Boating Ontario Association is the largest recreational boating trade association in Canada.
For more information on the initiative contact: Warren Howes, Catch the Wave Project Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-705-327-9727.