Protecting Our Most Valuable Resource – A report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

July 5th, 2011 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has released report on the economic impact of lifelong learning and adult education titled Protecting Our Most Valuable Resource: The Business Case for Lifelong Learning and Job-Based Training.

report coverTo advocate for a shared understanding of how traditional models of education can be adapted to meet the evolving needs of the business community, the OCC established a Workforce Learning and Development Task Force to consider the following questions:

• How does workplace training benefit employers?
• What is the level of demand for workplace training in the private sector?
• What incentives (if any) are necessary to meet the demand for workplace training?
• What does an ideal model for workplace training look like from start to finish, which works in all regions of the province and all sectors of the economy?

These questions formed the basis for the OCC’s 2010 Workforce Learning and Development Employer Survey, revealing that the current provincial workforce training system has a number of gaps that limit its contribution to a highly skilled workforce.

The report finds that among some of the barriers to participation in the workforce are not only training costs, but also time constraints:

The second largest impediment to greater private sector participation in workforce training is a lack of time. Many employers are unable to accommodate the needs of their workforce due to time constraints, particularly if they are SMEs. Research suggests that organizations that excel at continuous learning are those which use information and communications technologies (ICT) to further employee learning and development. ICT allows for the development of training systems featuring innovative technologies – such as podcasts, online learning, virtual reality, and simulated work-based training – that help accelerate the learning and degree earning process.

Click here to access the full report in PDF.

The video below introduces the report and provides quick interviews with business, labour, adult education and training stakeholders who speak to the importance of skills in today’s world.