jobsearchonline

Northeastern British Columbia
INFORMATION     JOBS     CAREERS




LABOUR MARKET INFORMATION
Northeastern Review

Energy LinksMining LinksTourism Links
IntroductionCareers & Job SkillsConstruction
Energy & MinesRig ListForestry
Archives

CAREERS & JOB SKILLS



Are You A Leader Or A Follower?

By Dr. Travis Bradberry, Contributor

Leadership is the art of persuasion -- the act of motivating people to do more than they ever thought possible in pursuit of a greater good.

It has nothing to do with your title.

It has nothing to do with authority or seniority.

You're not a leader just because you have people reporting to you. And you don't suddenly become a leader once you reach a certain pay grade.

A true leader influences others to be their best. Leadership is about social influence, not positional power.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~ John Quincy Adams

You don't even need to have people reporting to you to be a leader. A janitor can influence people and lead just as a CEO can.

Likewise, anyone can become a follower, even while holding a leadership position.

If you're a slave to the status quo, lack vision, or don't motivate everyone around you to be their absolute best, then you're a follower. Even if you happen to have a leadership title, people won't follow you when they see those behaviors present.

A senior executive who creates unnecessary bureaucracy, locks himself in his office, and fails to interact with others in any meaningful way is no more a leader than an antisocial software engineer who refuses to do anything but write code.

Of course, the real question is -- are you a leader or a follower?

To find out, you need to ask yourself some very important questions. Think carefully as you respond to each one, and you'll soon know for certain.

1. Do you go above and beyond?

Followers do their jobs, and that's it. No matter how good they may be at those jobs, it rarely occurs to them to go beyond their basic functions. Leaders, on the other hand, see their job descriptions as the bare minimum -- the foundation upon which they build greatness. Leaders see their real role as adding value, and they add it whenever and wherever they see an opportunity.

2. Are you confident?

Followers see the talents and accomplishments of other people as a threat. Leaders see those same talents and accomplishments as an asset. Leaders want to make things better, and they'll take help anywhere they can find it. Leaders are true team players. They aren't afraid to admit that they need other people to be strong where they're weak.

3. Are you optimistic?

Followers see the limitations inherent in any given situation; leaders see the possibilities. When things go wrong, leaders don't dwell on how bad things are. They're too busy trying to make things better.

4. Are you open to change?

Followers are content to stick with the safety of the status quo. They see change as frightening and troublesome. Leaders are maximizers who see opportunity in change. Because leaders want constant improvement, they're never afraid to ask, "What's next?"

5. Are you decisive?

Followers often hesitate to act, out of fear that they'll do the wrong thing. Leaders aren't afraid to make a call, even when they're not sure if it's the right one. They'd rather make a decision and be wrong than suffer from the paralysis of indecision.

Leaders would rather make a decision and be wrong than suffer from the paralysis of indecision.

6. Are you accountable?

When mistakes are made, followers are quick to blame circumstances and other people. Leaders, on the other hand, are quick to accept accountability for their actions. They don't worry that admitting fault might make them look bad, because they know that shifting the blame would just make them look worse.

7. Are you unflappable?

Followers often let obstacles and mishaps throw them off course. When something goes wrong, they assume the whole project is doomed. Leaders expect obstacles and love being challenged. They know that even the best-laid plans can run into unexpected problems, so they take problems in stride and stay the course.

8. Are you humble?

Followers are always chasing glory. Leaders are humble. They don't allow any authority they may have to make them feel that they are better than anyone else. As such, they don't hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they won't ask anyone to do anything they wouldn't be willing to do themselves.

9. Are you passionate?

Followers are trapped in the daily grind. They go to work and complete their tasks so that they can go home at the end of the day and resume their real lives. Leaders love what they do and see their work as an important part of -- not a weak substitute for -- real life. Their job isn't just what they do; it's an important part of who they are.

10. Are you motivated from within?

Followers are only motivated by external factors: the next title, the next raise, the next gain in status. Leaders are internally motivated. They don't work for status or possessions. They are motivated to excel because it's who they are. True leaders keep pushing forward even when there's no carrot dangling in front of them.

True leaders keep pushing forward even when there's no carrot dangling in front of them.

11. Do you focus on titles?

Followers care a lot about titles, both their own and those of the people they work with. They're very conscious of who outranks whom, because they lack the skill and motivation to create leadership from within. Leaders, on the other hand, focus on what each individual brings to the table, regardless of what's printed on a business card.

12. Are you focused on people?

Followers focus on what they can achieve individually. Leaders are team players, because they know that greatness is a collective feat. A leader is only as good as what he or she can achieve through other people.

A leader is only as good as what he or she can achieve through other people.

13. Are you willing to learn?

Leaders, while confident, know that they're neither superhuman nor infallible. They're not afraid to admit when they don't know something, and they're willing to learn from anyone who can teach them, whether that person is a subordinate, a peer, or a superior. Followers are too busy trying to prove they're competent to learn anything from anyone else.

Bringing It All Together

Take another quick look at the questions above. There's not a single one about title, position, or place on the org chart. That's because you can have the title and position without being a leader.

You may have worked for someone who fits that description. And you probably have colleagues who serve in leadership roles without a title.

Leadership and followership are mindsets. They're completely different ways of looking at the world. One is reactive, and the other is proactive. One is pessimistic; the other is optimistic. Where one sees a to-do list, the other sees possibilities.

So don't wait for the title. Leadership isn't something that anyone can give you -- you have to earn it and claim it for yourself.

LinkedIn, Huffington Post

Top 5 Resume Mistakes You Need to Avoid

By Lauren Pelley

Show your resume to a career coach, and they'll likely highlight some big fails. Some are obvious (a six-page resume can be a snooze to read) while others are a bit more surprising (those catchy buzzwords everyone uses might not be a great idea after all).

We asked three career coaches and resume writing experts for the top mistakes they see over and over, and how you can break these bad habits to make your resume stand out from the rest -- in a good way.

Mistake #1: Making your resume too long

This is the "cardinal sin" according to Sarah Vermunt, founder of career coaching company Careergasm and author of Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work.

"Nobody wants to read your novel of a resume," she says. "And more importantly, nobody has the time!"

Lee Weisser, senior coach at Careers By Design, agrees. "The highlights of your career accomplishments need to stand out," she says. In other words: Don't write your entire life story.

What to do instead: Stick to two pages

The golden rule of resumes is keep them to two pages at the most, and all three career coaches we spoke to agreed.

"I've written resumes for CEOs that don't go beyond two pages," says Kamara Toffolo, a job search strategist. "What you want to pinpoint -- and highlight -- is the best stuff."

Mistake #2: Being lazy with your formatting

Is your whole resume in Times New Roman, or crammed full of information without any consideration for design? Don't hope for the best with employers, the coaches say.

Overusing bullets is a deal breaker for Toffolo. "A lot of people lean on the idea that they need to use bullets for everything and they make it really difficult to scan," she says.

"It's like you're looking at a textbook, and it's the equivalent of highlighting a whole page instead of a couple points."

What to do instead: Strive for an easy-on-the-eyes design

You don't need to be an Adobe InDesign wizard -- but do strive for a clean, elegant design with subheadings and bullets only for the most important career details.

Toffolo suggests using a sans serif font, like Verdana, Arial, or Calibri, while Vermunt says spacing things out is key.

"Having white space between sections makes the reader feel like they can take a breath," she explains.

Mistake #3: Busting out the buzzwords

Weisser says it's a bad idea to use company-specific lingo or generic-sounding buzzwords. So, if you're considering tossing around words like "synergy" or phrases like "helped boost team building," maybe take a pause.

"Those sort of abstract words that you think are going to sound good, without something to back that up, without a clear accomplishment -- it doesn't really mean anything," she says.

What to do instead: Be specific

Rather than vague, cliche phrases, Weisser says you need to highlight your specific accomplishments.

So instead of saying you were a "team player," talk about the specific ways you boost morale in your office by spearheading an office running group, for instance.

Mistake #4: Talking about duties, not accomplishments

It's tempting to just list all the stuff you did in your last few jobs -- but think about how boring that looks to whoever is reading. You checked emails, made phone calls, attended meetings. Snore!

"What recruiters and hiring managers would like to see is, yes, you did those things -- but what results did you get?" says Toffolo.

What to do instead: Be specific, show results

Toffolo says specific, quantitative accomplishments are the best call.

So if you're in sales, give specific numbers in terms of how you beat sales goals. Or if you're a manager, talk about the size of your team and how you boosted performance.

Mistake #5: Making your resume one-size-fits-all

One of the biggest mistakes is having a "vanilla" resume. Vermunt says people often go that route -- using the same one-size-fits-all resume for every job application -- because customizing a resume seems like way too much work.

"You know what else is so much work? Applying for a zillion jobs with a vanilla, generic resume that nobody is going to look at because you put zero effort into customizing it for the job," she says.

What to do instead: Customize your resume for each job

Tailor your resume to the specific role you're applying for, and to the company.

"Your chances of being taken seriously are greater when you speak the language of the employer," Vermunt says. "For example, if you notice that the job posting uses the word 'collaboration' a lot but your resume uses the word 'teamwork,' go ahead and use their language instead."

Oh, and make sure the skills and successes you're highlighting actually apply to the job you're going for, Vermunt adds.

"If you're an Excel macros wizard but that's not remotely relevant to the job you're applying for, why on earth would you include it on your resume?" she says.

Got it? Good! Now let's get to work.

www.workopolis.com

8 Difficult Office Personalities & How to Work With Them

By Kay Benedek

In a perfect world, every workplace would be filled with only great, hard-working people that get along every minute of every day. Unfortunately, this isn't always the way things go. Workplaces are filled with all kinds of different personalities, and while most of them are great, you can't get along with everyone all the time. There are, however, ways to work around that.

Here are the 8 most commonly difficult personalities you'll find in your workplace and how you can work with them.

The Office Gossip

Let's start out with one that's relatively easy to spot. The Gossip likes to be up to date on everything in the office, so it won't take long for you to identify this person. They will buddy up next to you and want to know everything about you. They tend to be friendly social butterflies, but soon, they'll be sharing the details of everyone's private lives throughout the office. There are many reasons why an Office Gossip does this; it could be their way of diverting attention from themselves, it could be for entertainment's sake, or it could just be that they're not very good at keeping things to themselves. Whatever their reasoning, these people are never too far away. There may even be several within your workplace.

How to work with them:

Just stay out of it. Don't entertain the gossip when they are looking for an ear to listen, don't share anything you've heard, and don't give them any information you don't want getting out to the whole office. Just steer clear and play it safe.

The Quiet Guy or Gal

In contrast to the Office Gossip, this personality is not the oversharing type. Neither are they a particularly challenging one to deal with, but they can be confusing to some. This person may seem distant, withdrawn, or even snobby, when in reality, they are simply not social butterflies. They prefer their peace and quiet while they work to complete their tasks.

How to work with them:

First and foremost, do not take their lack of interest in socializing personally. It's just not their style. Instead, be friendly, but give them space. They will choose when they want to communicate their thoughts and feelings with you. If you'd like to build a relationship with this person, take some time to get to know them. It may take longer than your typical extrovert, but your patience will be appreciated and rewarded with a hardworking, quality teammate.

The Seriously Stressed Out

No matter how much or how little work this person has on their plate, they always seem to be inches from tearing their hair out. Every time you pass their desk, they are in a tizzy about some project or another, and if you happen to engage them in conversation, get ready to hear all about what's weighing them down. From their personal life to office work, this person always has something stressing them out. This not only makes working with them a stressful experience, it also makes them unreliable. These people have a tendency to be forgetful, while their feelings of being overwhelmed lead them to cut corners on the tasks they do remember to complete.

How to work with them:

No matter what they're stressing about, do not let it rub off on you. Your stress and frustration will only add to the situation. If you are scheduled to work in close collaboration with this person, break down the work into manageable steps that won't overwhelm your co-worker. Start small and move together from there. It will keep them on track and stop them from falling into a stress spiral.

The Control Freak

This person can be highly valuable to a company with their close attention to detail. However, if not kept in check, they can also be incredibly frustrating to the people around them. Control freaks can be nitpicky and critical of others who do not do things their way. They feel the constant need to be in control of situations, causing them to overstep boundaries in an attempt to gain control. Their perfectionist tendencies cause them to have impossibly high standards for their co-workers and teammates.

How to work with them

First, do not take their controlling tendencies to heart. It has less to do with how competent you are and more to do with their comfort level. To make things easier for yourself, try giving them clear, detailed reports and updates on projects. Avoid any ambiguity that may cause them to feel the need to tighten the reigns and get over involved. Also, if and when possible, let go of control on projects that don't mean as much to you. It might make your life easier and may mean more to them to have the control.

The Permanently Paranoid

This personality can be somewhat frustrating in the workplace. Their paranoia can manifest itself in many ways, whether it's through questioning motives of their coworkers, fearing for the outcome of projects, or feeling like they are constantly on the verge of being fired. These people tend to be negative by nature and can make every project feel like a hassle.

How to work with them:

Choose your words carefully. You never know what could be spun differently in their head. Offer fact-based explanations of projects, people, and changes happening around the office to reassure them that nothing is going on behind the scenes. Above all, do not let this worry wart suck you in. Chances are, they're worrying about nothing. Don't let their concerns shake your confidence.

The Blame Shifter

These people are always the first to point the finger at someone else when something goes wrong. They will rarely take responsibility or apologize for their mistakes, bad decisions, or poor performance. In fact, they will likely tell their own versions of the truth in an attempt to convince others of their perspective. This person can be tough to work with, and if not handled carefully, can cause unnecessary strife in your workplace.

How to work with them:

Getting the Blame Shifter to see their part in negative situations will prove more difficult than protecting yourself from their accusations.  Whenever beginning a project with this person, make an effort to clearly discuss the details of the project, for example, who is responsible for what, what the deliverables are, and when they are due. That way, it is evident when they are slacking. If a situation does arise that you were involved in, the fastest way to disarm the Blamer Shifter is by taking responsibility for your mistakes before they have the opportunity to use them against you.  Most of your coworkers will respect your ability to acknowledge your shortcomings, and the Blamer Shifter will be all out of ammo.

The Narcissist

The Narcissist is an especially challenging and frustrating workplace personality. They may be arrogant, carry a sense of entitlement, and put their own contributions and ideas above everyone else's, regardless of their actual efforts or value. These people tend to create polarizing opinions within their colleagues. However, these people can also be charismatic, causing many to enjoy their social presence. The Narcissist's inflated self-view can make it hard for anyone to do their jobs well or get noticed for the work they have done.

How to work with them:

As frustrating as it may be, flattery is key with these personalities. Praise them when they deserve praise and give positive feedback before criticism. When trying to get work done, express to them how team efforts can work to their benefit. Narcissists are self-driven and motivated by their personal goals. They can be quality teammates when they believe it is in their best interests. No matter what you choose to do, be realistic about what to expect from this person. Do not try to change them, force them to see their errors, or expect something different from them just because they rub you the wrong way. Accept the reality and work accordingly.

The Backstabber

This person is one of the hardest to spot. In fact, you may not know you have a Backstabber on your hands until they've already tried to make a move against you. These people seem as friendly as anyone else in the office. You may work well together for a while, and they may show interest in getting to know you, but the next thing you know, they're taking credit for your work, complaining to your manager and leaving a trail of aggravated teammates in their wake.

How to work with them:

Your number one defense against the Backstabber is to avoid reciprocating their passive-aggressive behaviour. Once you get involved in this toxic work process, it can be hard to untangle yourself. if possible, confront issues with them face to face to get it sorted out. Stand up for yourself when they try to undermine you, but be prepared to pick your battles. Letting them win every now and again will allow them to feel that you are not a threat. If they feel you are resistant to their direction or goals, they may decide something must be done about your troublesome behaviour.

There will always be difficult people in every workplace setting. However, the majority of the people you will encounter are as honest and responsible as you are. As long as you've learned to navigate these challenging personalities and their toxic work habits, you will enjoy a pleasant career with fantastic teammates by your side.

www.workopolis.com

 5 Ways Body Language is Costing You Jobs

Simply being the most qualified person for a job isn't good enough these days.

Interviews are performances: improvisatory scenes in which the primary roles and traits of the characters are sketched out beforehand. "The hiring manager" has presumably read your resume, and you, "the job applicant," have done your homework on the company. Your goal is to make sure that the scene plays out in such a way that, when it's all over, you're sure to be recast as "the perfect candidate." And that's why a heightened attention to your body language, and its potential effect on your co-star's psyche, is crucial. Think of body language as the non-verbal signalling system that, if mastered, can trigger a positive reaction in the mind of the hiring manager before you've even said hello.

Let's take a look at some of the more obvious ways body language can help or hinder your chances of stealing the scene.

1. Making a bad first impression

You should be in character before you've even introduced yourself to the receptionist, and should remain in character while sitting and waiting for the interview to begin. Slouching, biting your nails, pulling out your hair -- these should not be in your repertoire of visual cues. You want to signal that you are the type of person who is self-possessed and alert, which is most easily conveyed by mastering the erect yet relaxed look: torso straight, shoulders back, head perhaps slightly cocked to one side to indicate a thoughtful disposition.

For those of you who have any doubts about how well you're executing these non-verbal cues, experts consistently emphasize the importance of rehearsing beforehand, especially with a trusted friend who can offer constructive criticism. Receiving objective feedback will help you refine and perfect your performance before you hit the stage.

2. Failing to make eye contact

As neuroscientists tell us, mirror neurons in the human brain can cause a person to act (and feel) in a way that "mirrors" the behaviour of another person with whom they're interacting. This, of course, is why body language is so important, and why, as soon as you're introduced to the hiring manager, the nonverbal attitude you should try to have mirrored back should convey the following verbal equivalent: "Oh my god! It's you! How wonderful!"

Failing to make eye contact is ranked as the top body language mistake by hiring managers (67%), so don't be shy. And, not surprisingly, next on the list is forgetting to smile (39%), so be prepared to show some teeth in as non-threatening a way as possible.

3. The handshake: follow the Goldilocks principle

This is arguably more about ritual than body language signalling, but since it receives ample attention from many others in the advice-giving business, I thought I'd mention it.

Simply stated, your handshake should be neither too hard nor too soft, but somewhere in-between. Again, practice with a friend for feedback on your performance. And then, if necessary, watch a video or twenty on YouTube -- because, yes, there are at least twenty videos on YouTube demonstrating how to execute the perfect handshake. Who said the internet wasn't good for anything?

4. Using the wrong kind of gestures

The interview itself demands some truly multivalent body signalling abilities. The erect yet relaxed look that you assumed while waiting to be called in, is now combined with a variety of visual cues, designed to convey a comfortable (but not too comfortable) familiarity, as if the two of you are acquaintances suddenly discovering how much you actually have in common. What makes this portion of the performance so complicated is that it entails not only the skillful use of eye-contact and carefully timed smiles, but also the integration of further improvisatory gestures, such as: the fascinated nod; the emphatic furrowed brow; the slightly incredulous head-shake, etc. And note: hand gestures should be kept to a minimum. Everything your body does should obviously be indicative of a focused and engaged nature. Fidgeting in your seat, neurotically touching your face, or playing with something on the table: not good.

Again: rehearse!

5. The smooth departure

If you've made it to the wrap-up portion of the scene without making any body language mistakes, you're pretty well home free. All you have to do now is perform the same routines you've already mastered: the handshake and the eye-contact/smile -- with perhaps the slightest hint of fleeting disappointment fluttering across your face to indicate the pain of parting, but also the hope of a longed-for reconciliation. This latter manoeuvre, however, may prove too subtle for the non-professional. Further training may be required.

After final nods to both the hiring manager and the receptionist, head off stage with a steady, confident gait -- and, whatever you do, DON'T LOOK BACK. That sort of thing just looks desperate.

And that's all there is to it. If you've performed the basic repertoire of nonverbal signals skillfully -- while simultaneously dazzling the hiring manager with your verbal dexterity -- there's no reason why you shouldn't be nominated for a Tony. Whether you actually get the job, though, is ultimately dependent on your co-star -- and, unfortunately, the mind of a hiring manager is often an unfathomable mystery. All you can do is give it your best shot.

Break a leg!

www.workopolis.com

6 Skilled Trades That Can Pay More Than $75,000 (& Even $200,000)

By Sal Ciolfi

The smell of Rub-A535 always reminds me of my grandfather.

I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house after school, and he would come home from his construction job, dusty, sweaty, and beat. He'd take out the muscle cream, taking his time to apply it to all the busted parts of his body: the pulled muscles in his back; the throbbing calves and inflamed knees; the sore shoulders and tired arms.

He always finished by rubbing a dab of cream on his right index finger. This was mostly for effect; he'd lost most of that finger in a workplace accident involving a circular saw and a lot of blood.

He'd point the short finger stump at me and ask, "did you do your homework?"

When an oiled-up, barrel-chested man with an Italian accent and a missing finger asks you if you've done your homework, you say yes. More importantly, you make sure you actually did it.

My grandfather wanted me to avoid the kind of work he did, mostly, I think, because he thought I was too soft to do it. He wasn't wrong, nor was he very original. A majority of Canadian youths (59%) say their families have not encouraged them to consider the trades as a career option.

Things, however, are starting to change for skilled trades like my grandfather's (that is carpenters, welders, plumbers, painters, electricians, roofers, iron workers, construction jobs, and more). For one thing, work conditions and safety standards are much more stringent than they were in his time. Secondly, with changing demographics and increased automation, skilled trade jobs represent one of the largest areas of growth on the Canadian job front.

It's estimated, for example, that 40% of tradespeople currently in the workforce will retire over the next five to 10 years.  And if this year's Sunshine List is anything to go on, these jobs also offer an opportunity to make some big bucks.

Here are six in-demand skilled trade jobs that made the cut this year.

Carpenter

  • Payscale salary range: $32,497 - $75,889
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $189,343.77

Electrician

  • Payscale salary range: $34,693 - $91,484
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $238,285.32

Ironworker

  • Payscale salary range: $41,223 - $88,737
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $200,934.43

Plumber

  • Payscale salary range: $33,566 - $85,309
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $107,483

Welder

  • Payscale salary range: $33,707 - $85,034
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $108,697.67

Steamfitter

A steamfitter, by the way, lays out, assembles, maintains, and repairs piping systems.

  • Payscale salary range: $40,547 - $130,821
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $117,939.61

If you're concerned about the certification and training processes involved with these trades, check out these three jobs that also showed up on this year's Sunshine List:

Bus Driver

  • Payscale salary range: $25,882 - $65,351
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $115,909.87

Janitor

  • Payscale salary range: $22,517 - $45,195
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $104,498

Waste collection operator

  • Salary range (from Neuvoo): $35,000 - $70,000
  • Highest Sunshine List salary: $100,206

What does this all mean? You don't have to be chained to a desk for eight hours a day to make a great living.

www.workopolis.com

BC Water & Wastewater Sector Facing Labour Shortage

By Peter Caulfield, Correspondent

The workforce in British Columbia's water and wastewater sector needs new blood. According to the BC Water and Waste Water Sector Workforce Profile, because of retirements, attrition and sector growth, 3,320 new employees are required between 2015 and 2025. They represent slightly more than half of the total sector workforce of 6,250. "Right now there are about 500 vacancies," said Carlie Hucul, CEO of the BC Water and Waste Association (BCWWA), one of the organizations that undertook the study. Most of the requirements are for operators, followed by technical support staff, supervisors and management. According to the report, the sector has its work cut out for it. Over one-third of its workforce is over 50 years of age, with more than one-half of the over-50s expected to retire within the next 10 years.

Despite the number of staff who are leaving the sector, they are not being replaced by younger workers. Only one-quarter of the workforce is between 19 and 35, compared to one-third of the total population of BC.

The sector's education curriculum also needs to be addressed.

According to the report, it needs to be updated to ensure the workforce can maintain technical skills and meet certification and changing industry requirements.

In addition, competencies for all of the occupational groups need to be clarified and defined.

The purpose of the study, which was carried out in 2015 by the BCWWA and the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP), is to develop a comprehensive picture of the workforce responsible for water and wastewater operations across the province.

Hucul said the report was needed because of the lack of data specific to the BC sector.

"There is good national data -- the Eco Canada 2010 workforce report -- but we've had trouble finding reliable information on the regional water and wastewater workforce," said Hucul.

Data for the profile was gathered from surveys, interviews and focus groups with employers, training organizations, regulators and accreditation institutions.

According to the report, education and certification in the water and wastewater sector needs to be brought up to date.

For example, there are no required courses that ensure operators, supervisors and managers have the knowledge and skills to carry out their roles and responsibilities.

There are skill gaps in water quality and safety, technology and regulatory changes and environmental impacts.

The report recommended that new training be developed to reflect changes in the work environment and that the sector be kept up to date on new training opportunities.

It also proposed more flexibility in training models and delivery. Some employers face challenges in staff training, such as the cost of developing in-house training, travel and loss-of-work costs to send staff to external courses and the lack of schools and instructors.

Hucul said one of the reasons the BC sector has had trouble bringing in new, young workers is a lack of structure in the way that competencies are defined.

"There isn't a clear career path in water and wastewater," said Hucul. "It's a barrier to attracting skilled workers and to keeping them in the sector."

It also limits employment mobility.

"It's easier in construction and similar kinds of work to move on to other jobs," she said.

Kalpna Solanki, chief executive officer of EOCP, said her organization and the BCWWA are working with other BC water sector organizations to develop an implementation and action plan that will address the workforce challenges identified in the report.

"It will be completed later in 2017," Solanki said. "Expect to see some changes in the sector."

The BCWWA is a not-for-profit association representing more than 4,600 water professionals in BC and the Yukon. The EOCP is a certification organization responsible for classifying water and wastewater systems and administering the certification process for operators in BC.

Journal of Commerce