Funding for the Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant has doubled this year, which helps employers train and retain new and existing employees across a variety of fields.
The program was initiated in 2014 with $2 million in funding that the government put towards the grant, in which employers pay a third of training costs with the rest paid by the provincial and federal governments. This year, they will be putting in $4 million.
“The point of the program is to engage more employers in the training process, directly connecting employer-driven programming, which will allow us to do that,” said Jeremy Harrison, minister of immigration, jobs, skills and training for Saskatchewan. “Making sure that we connect employers who have jobs with those who are seeking employment or those who are working for an employer and are looking to up-skill or engage in some new training.”
The Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant is geared toward many industries with the manufacturing sector showing the most interest in taking advantage of the program. Harrison says it makes up 21 per cent of the applicants while construction takes 15 per cent. The rest of the industries that have used the grant include agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Harrison added the program is a new way of doing things in the province and prior to it the training process was left in the hands of individual employers. The Job Grant allows employers to pick the employees or potential employees they want to train, whether it’s done on the job site or through third party training.
“So far, we’ve had 145 unique employers who have been approved for the grant. We have 770 trainees that are going through or have completed training already,” said Harrison. “So we’ve seen significant interest. It is again kind of changing the way that we do things in making those direct connections between employers and the employees.”
The government of Saskatchewan has been working with the federal government for a few years to design the grant and was finally able to sign off on it last year. 2015 marks the first full year the program has been operational and Harrison says the government has been getting positive feedback from participating employers.
“Employees that have gone through the program as well, they’re getting their training essentially paid for by the employer and also by the government of Canada and the government of Saskatchewan, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved,” he said.
“In terms of the provincial labour market, we’re addressing those shortages and in terms of those employees looking to enter the workforce, they’re having their training provided for them. For employers they’re having an employee coming out at the end of the day they know is going to be able to help their business be a success.”