Feature Jobs may show labour needs in Rainy River District: NCDS

By Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Last week, the Northern Community Development Services (NCDS) restarted an initiative called “Feature Jobs” in hopes of spreading awareness about the weekly job openings available across the Rainy River District.

Ten job postings are posted every Friday on the NCDS website and Facebook page.

As resource and information lead at NCDS, Chantel McLeod monitors listings and posts them online when employers indicate they still need to be filled.

Featured jobs are selected based on when the job request was received by NCDS. About one month after the featured posting, McLeod likes to follow up with the employer to see if the job has been filled.

“And if they’re still looking then I let them know that I can feature the job again. And that’s [how we decide] some of the jobs to use for features,” she said.

NCDS has highlighted featured jobs in the past, McLeod says, adding that it might have started at least around 2018 before she started working for the organization.

For the week of July 7 to 13, the selected featured jobs came from a variety of industries such as retail, healthcare, or business.

The 10 featured jobs include: community health registered nurse, residential support worker, receptionist, food services officer, crew members, assistant store manager, equipment service technician, truck driver, diamond drilling instructor, and taxi driver.

However, McLeod said that the main industry experiencing labour shortages is within the skilled trades sector.

Based on the 2022-2025 Local Labour Market Plan Report for the Kenora and Rainy River districts, there was a significant decline in persons who have completed an apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma.

Despite issuing 20 Certificates of Apprenticeship in 2021 and 2022, the number of active apprentices in the Rainy River District has decreased compared to the previous years, the report says.

Most of the job openings within the trades sector require some sort of certification, McLeod said, adding that it could make it difficult for students to gain experience in the industry unless they join an apprenticeship.

“Most of them need the qualification. In the past, we probably had a couple of jobs for apprentice opportunities,” she said. “Lately, we have talked to the apprenticeship services, and we have made some general referrals so that students could do apprenticeships or training.”

McLeod added that the NCDS has also seen an ongoing struggle to fill student summer jobs.

“I think that’s where the biggest struggle is, that there hasn’t been many students looking,” McLeod said.

When asked why that might be the case, McLeod replied that it is something they’ve always struggled to find out.

So far, the Youth Job Connection program has seen at least five enrolments, she said.

The summer program started last week, offering training to help get students ready for the workforce. Students are given a binder of work to take home but also benefit from an in-class session that encourages interactions with other students.

“It seems like it’ll be a good experience for the ones enrolled,” McLeod said.

While online job hunting can be useful, McLeod still encourages people to also check out the listings that are available at the NCDS main office.

“Most people think that if they’re not seeing a job ad on our website, then it’s not available. But because we have access to the hidden job market, there are plenty of opportunities [and] we’d like them to come in,” she said.