According to a recent research, labour shortages prevalent in the food and beverage industry in the mid 2000s will once again emerge as the Canadian economy continues to recover.
According to a recent research, labour shortages prevalent in the food and beverage industry in the mid 2000s will once again emerge as the Canadian economy continues to recover. Projected shortages in the Food and Beverage industry could reach more than 142, 000 year-around jobs by 2025, the study indicates. Lessons learned during the previous labour shortages will be a valuable tool to Canadian businesses as new shortages emerge.
A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. has already begun acting, learning from those lessons, thanks to a meeting organized by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA.) It was in the fall of 2007, during the height of the national labour shortage. At the meeting where stakeholders and the government congregated, workforce solutions were explored. Instead of targeting temporary foreign workers from overseas, restaurants were encouraged to consider the large pool of immigrants already in Canada.
Thus the opportunity emerged to work with immigrant teens already in Canada with their families and A&W restaurants in Manitoba quickly acted upon it. It started working with a local immigrant and refugee agency to address labour shortages.
While the restaurant chain has found a solution for its workforce shortage, the teen immigrants take pride in starting their Canadian careers as well as help their families make ends meet.
The idea really took off when Newcomers Employment Education and Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc. — a local nonprofit agency that offers services to immigrant and refugee youth — created a training program in hospitality industry that would offer newcomers to Canada an opportunity to acquire essential workplace skills.
It seemed like a natural partnership that would benefit both sides: A&W commits resources and employment opportunities, while N.E.E.D.S. Inc. manages the pre-employment training and placement process. “We realize that for most of our employees, working at A&W is not a career,” admits Dean, Fuller Restaurant Franchisee responsible for four restaurants in Winnipeg. “But our young immigrant employees take full advantage of how much they learn about Canadian customer service and work culture while in our employment.“
“This employment program has had a dramatic positive effect on the families and communities that have participated,” states Robyn Andrews, N.E.E.D.S. Inc. Employment Program Coordinator. “Immigrant-serving agencies are always looking to identify employers where there is an awareness that internationally trained workers (ITWs) make a significant contribution to the labour market. Getting involved in a work training program allows your company to be more competitive in hiring and retaining ITWs.”