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  • 04 March 2022 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sharon Ferriss from CERIC asked me to promote Wayfinder, their new reflective practice resources tool to enhance Career Development within Experiential Learning, so I thought I would try it out. All I can say is, "Wow!"

    You can access so many resources at a click by searching by your role -- post-secondary staff or faculty, designer or developer, event or workshop facilitator, employer, community organization, K-12 teacher or counsellor, student or learner -- and then filtering your search by resource categories: tool, network, concept, or catalogue. 

    Funded by CERIC and developed by OneLifeTools, Wayfinder is a valuable portal that is a tool like I have never seen before. On April 8th, CERIC will be hosting a free launch event where OneLifeTools co-founders Mark Franklin (University of Toronto) and Rich Feller (Colorado State University) will walk through the tool and show how experiential learning can be integrated into your practice.

    Kudos to the CERIC team for producing this product.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 25 February 2022 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week has been an extremely busy time for labour market information. I'll try to unpack some of the highlights in case you missed them.

    Future Skills Summit

    According to Pedro Barata, CEO of the Future Skills Centre, this online event spanned 3 days with 54 speakers and 14+ sessions, attracting thousands of delegates from workers, labourers, employers, governments at all levels, committee members, educators, researchers, etc. There was so much information to process, but I'll quote Pedro in his closing remarks, who identified the reoccurring themes:
    • First and foremost, the importance of purpose in our recurring work, and the recurring theme of skills as a crucial piece of the puzzle for a reclusive recovery and shared prosperity... 
    • The second reoccurring theme, career development is our super power. It may be underappreciated, but it is our superpower that will make or break our ability for every Canadian to embrace a lifelong learning agenda. 
    • Third, we also heard example after example of the need to work with employers, but to go beyond one employer at a time, and work with whole sectors is the only way we will meaningfully embed skills development as a core business strategy and navigating change.
    • Finally, the opportunity for us to get ahead of the curve on the megatrends that will shape our economy. We will talk about this with our panel. Things like immigration, SME, and the green ship. Our work is complex, but it is our job to help make sense of it for Canadians, and to see where we go from here.

    Provincial Budget

    On Tuesday, the government announced a deficit budget that addresses some of the larger barriers to employment:
    • Childcare: Further investments in child care that include a promise of $20 a day for parents by the end of 2022, adding more licensing officers  to speed up the certification process for new daycares, more ECE training positions, and financial supports for those seeking the training. 
    • Mental Health & Addictions: Increased funding toward more emergent care supports in communities, continued funding to the Pathway to Hope program, and support for 15 First Nations Primary Health Care Centres.
    • Housing & Homelessness: Adding another $100 million to the province's 10-year plan to combat homelessness, including more staff to process applications under the Housing Hub program.
    • Labour Market Supports: Tourism & Arts are to receive $25 million for pandemic recovery and old-growth loggers can expect a $185 million fund for retraining, bridging to retirement, and community economic development to make way for the green economy.
    • Truth & Reconciliation: Creation of a new UNDRIP secretariat with an investment of $12 million over the next three years to ensure that BC follows the laws under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act.
    • Connectivity: Further investments to connect 280 First Nations, rural and remote communities to high-speed internet. 

    Ceric RFP

    And just when I started relaxing into all this information, things got even more exciting. Ceric dropped a request for proposal for market research on the career development sector. This project is exciting in that it will provide government, researchers, and employment services providers with valuable data that has the potential to affect funding frameworks and raise the profile of employment services in Canada. I am working with some of our partners to determine how ASPECT and its members can be involved in this endeavour. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 11 February 2022 12:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the excitement of Christmas morning or the arrival of the latest IKEA catalogue, the BC Government released its Labour Market Outlook 2021. It follows the release of the Canadian Government's Labour Force Survey for January last Friday. Finally, with CERIC's release of their National Employer Survey late last month and the upcoming free webinars New LMI for Career Practitioners in Canada, what we have is an abundance of labour market information.

    Labour Market Outlook 2021

    I love studying the information in the report and seeing which jobs are in demand, and in growing demand, over the coming decade. Each position has its own profile and in some cases, a little video explaining the jobs. Christian St. Cyr of the 

    BC Labour Market Report does an excellent job of unpacking labour market information, making it easy to understand and travelling deeper into what the data means. I encourage you to sign up for his webinar on February 24 where he will dive deeper into the information.

    Labour Force Survey for January - Canadian Government

    Although the unemployment rate increased slightly in January, BC is out-performing the rest of Canada in many of the labour force indicators. Click here to download a PDF of the BC highlights. 

    National Employer Survey - CERIC

    The CERIC survey provides evidence of what we are hearing from every jurisdiction in BC: employers are struggling to recruit and retain skilled staff. This survey is an update of their 2013 survey and shows how much the labour market has changed. We've been hearing about the labour market crunch for years and it is now upon us. Click here to download a copy of the executive summary. 

    Also, a helpful way to unpack the report findings is to take a look at how the media has covered it. The following are news stories posted on the CERIC website.  I think you'll agree that this is an exciting time of year for Labour Market Information. I hope you'll take the time to peruse these reports. So many interesting nuggets of information!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO
  • 04 February 2022 12:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Something happened this week that was quite exciting for me: the Canadian Journal of Career Development (CJCD) published our research in an article called A Needs Assessment of Virtual Career Practitioners.  

    As you may remember, ASPECT received support from the Future Skills Centre, funded by the Government of Canada, to investigate the transition of our members from in-person employment services to virtual employment services and identify gaps in competencies. We wanted to collect and record information from the experts in the community to inform funders. Our weekly ASPECT member meetings sparked us to undertake this research as we discussed how CDPs were managing the transition. 

    With the help of nine ASPECT members from throughout the province, whom we called the Virtual Learning Consortium, we designed an online survey and questions for a series of focus groups. Using the not-yet-released 

    National Competency Profile for Career Development Professionals as a framework, we set out to answer the questions pertaining to virtual services:
    1. What competencies do CDPs currently have?
    2. What are the skills gaps and obstacles?
    3. How can the employment services sector address the situation with responsive solutions?
    The CJCD article addresses the first two questions. It shows that engaging with reluctant clients, digital literacy, building rapport with clients, and addressing client health are the top four areas that became more difficult in transitioning to virtual services. 
    Amongst other findings, we were surprised to note that there was very little difference in the ages of CDPs and their challenges with technology. On the client-side of the research, we were surprised that youth did not fare as well with virtual services as one would expect from a population who seem to live their lives online. 
    The final report to the Future Skills Centre is still in progress, but we were delighted to take one part of our research and present it with academic rigour. Our final report will outline more answers to question three above as it is not included in the publication. 
    There is so much gratitude to share: the participants in our weekly member meetings, those who served on the virtual learning consortium that helped steer the research, and the many of you who responded to the survey and contributed through the focus groups. None of this research would be possible without you. 
    Also, special thanks to our academic lead, Dr. Roberta Borgen and Cassie Taylor, our outstanding research assistants Erica Thomson and Bennett King-Nyberg, our project partner Deborah Bromley and her team at ETHOS Career Management. Thank you to all of you who do this work every day. I hope you can share in my excitement about this published record of the work you have been doing over the past two years.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 14 January 2022 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Artwork source: LMIC


    You might have missed the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) and the Future Skills Centre (FSC) report, Are Adults Making Use of Career Services in Canada?, released last November. There is a ton of information to unpack that might be helpful to you.
    For those who don't have time to read the entire report, here are their 3 Key Findings:
    • Only one in five adults in Canada use career services
    • Adults who use career services find it helpful
    • Most adults in Canada aren't accessing career services
    Distilling the report down to 3 points is entirely reductive for such an evidence-based read. Still, it got me thinking about how ASPECT can help promote and support career services both provincially & federally?
    Candy Ho, from the University of the Fraser Valley, in her companion article to the report, called Two Ways We Can Connect More Adults to Career Services in Canada, suggests that: 
    1. We need to build a broader understanding of what career development is. 
    2. We need to make sure career professionals are equipped with the information Canadians need most.  
    Regarding point 1, my job as an advocate has been to educate funders and policymakers about the work you do; its importance in preparing clients for work while meeting Canada's growing labour market needs. Clearly, as the LMIC/FSC report shows, ASPECT still has more work to do in promoting career services.
    Regarding point 2, over the years I have heard from members about the need to access local labour market information. Although there are great resources such as LMIC’s Online Job Posting dashboard, the BC Government’s WorkBC site, and the BC Labour Market Report, much of the community-focused research is still being done by our members. It requires collaboration and relationship-building with employers, economic development organizations, and others to meet community needs.
    The LMIC/FSC report also suggests expanding Career Development Practitioner training to align with the new CDP Competency Framework, a framework that ASPECT is proud to have had a part in developing. While I will continue building awareness, help is needed from you to develop training opportunities that align with the competency framework. We currently have a call-out for presenters (see below). 
    I see the LMIC/FSC report and its recommendations as a call to action and will continue to work toward ASPECT answering that call.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 07 January 2022 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy New Year and welcome back to those of us who were able to take a break. 

    Thank you to everyone who participated in our member survey at the end of December and congratulation to Sarah Holloway for winning the draw for a $25 gift card. The results of our member survey help us at ASPECT to see where we are meeting the needs of our members and where we might have work to do.

    This year we had the highest response rate in history. That tells me that we have been successful in engaging members in the work we do but the results are not all sunshine and roses.

    Why Belong to ASPECT?

    When asked to provide their top 3 reasons why they belong to ASPECT, 61% said for the ASPECT conference with "advice on advocacy issues" and "opportunities to liaise with funding partners" tied for second place at 48%. Fourth place was our member meetings coming in at 41%.

    Communications Followed

    When asked which of the ASPECT communications they follow, almost 96% said the Aspectives newsletter. It is, for this reason, that we have tried to make it a priority to fill it with the latest news delivered as close to weekly as possible. In 2021, we published 46 editions of Aspectives and 47 in 2020. Five years ago, we published only 13 editions. 

    Member Satisfaction

    The final piece of data that I use to identify gaps in our work and our ability to meet the needs of our members is the satisfaction data. Although I am delighted with the overall results, it is clear that we have some work to do. When asked to rate their overall satisfaction with ASPECT, almost 84% of the respondents were either "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied." Clearly with almost 14% answering "neutral" we have some work to do.

    Thank you again to all who participated in the survey. Your voices have been heard and we will act on your suggestions and feedback. A member organization such as ASPECT cannot always be everything to all people but we will always strive to be better. If your organization is not a member of ASPECT, please consider joining us to support the work we do.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 03 December 2021 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The holiday season is a time to reflect on the year we've had. It certainly has been a dynamic one! At ASPECT, we are reflecting too with a few initiatives:

    1. ASPECT Member Survey

    This 2-minute survey is open to everyone, including those who are not ASPECT members but are engaged in the events and services we provide.  If you respond to the survey by December 20, 2021, and you'll be entered to win a $25 e-gift card. 

    Take the survey now!

    2. Stakeholder Analysis

    As a deeper dive than the member survey and to fulfil the research requirement for my Masters in Community Development, I will be interviewing ASPECT members in a series of one-on-one virtual interviews in January. More information and invitations will come out before we break for Christmas. The information collected will help inform ASPECT's strategic planning session this spring.

    3. Refocusing the Urban Lens for Employment Programs

    In follow up to the ASPECT conference session about delivering services to rural and remote communities, starting January 6, 2022, we will hold four monthly discussion groups about the challenges associated with delivering employment services to rural and remote communities. More information and invitations to participate will be coming to members soon. The goal of these meetings is to produce a white paper to government.

    4. WorkBC Prime Contractor Discussions

    Also starting in January, we will be administering a series of monthly meetings for Work BC prime contractors to discuss the highs and lows of the current program. This will be a contractor lead discussion with feedback provided to government. Invitations coming soon.

    To those of you who celebrate Hanukka, all the best wishes for the holiday season.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 19 November 2021 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past week has been a tough one for our province as we mourn for those most impacted by the results of the "atmospheric river."  We mourn for those who have lost lives, homes, and livelihoods.

    [Image: Screenshot of Emergency Map BC taken at 9:47 am on November 19, 2021]  

    At this time, we can look to the helpers. The news is littered with stories from survivors of the deluge who have had their faith in humanity restored when people undertook heroic acts to save lives or make strangers feel comfortable as they waited for the passages home to open. Our members in these communities have been working hard to contribute. For example, Peter Bailey of Free Rein & Associates dropped everything to help set up a shelter at a local church for the many people stranded in Hope and Archway Community Services in Abbotsford put together food hampers for those who were impacted by the flood, posting a call out on their social media channels.

    If you are far removed from the effects of the floods, please take a moment to read some of the following samplings of articles to learn more about what happened and is continuing to happen in these communities.

    Stories from the Floods
    Finally, if you are looking for ways to help, this news story has a list of places to send donations:
    A Grand Forks member at last week's member meeting told us about their serious flooding that happened four and a half years ago of which their community is still recovering. This most recent disaster, as well as the disasters from last summer, will take a lot of time, money, and political will from which to recover. Whether in the thick of it or on the outskirts, I encourage you to get involved in the recovery efforts.

    Janet Morris-Reade


  • 22 October 2021 11:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What's that expression, "living in interesting times"? The employment sector is seeing its fair share of dynamics and yesterday's announcement by Canadian Minister of Employment, Hon. Carla Qualtrough certainly had my head spinning. Although the house is not sitting and this is policy change not yet official, Minister Qualtrough warned that if a worker leaves their job because they refuse to get vaccinated, they will likely not qualify for employment insurance.

    Our members are telling us that they are receiving calls and visits from some of the 5,500 unvaccinated health care workers who feel they must leave their jobs, but tying EI benefits to COVID vaccinations is not something I even considered possible. The courts are full of legal challenges right now and employment case law is being tested. It will be interesting to see if this proposed policy announcement will encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated or if there will be a rush to the courts. Regardless, for our sector it could be a landmine moving forward with these clients.

    Minister Qualtrough's musings come on the heels of the expected announcements from the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance about the end of the Canada Response Benefit and "targeted" bridging supports. Again, these are just plans right now and we can likely expect a healthy debate when the House sits November 22 for their winter session. We can expect a Cabinet shuffle as well. 

    With all of these changes, I am delighted to announce that Pedro Barata, Executive Director at the Future Skills Centre will be our Keynote Speaker at the Conference on Friday, November 5 at 9:00am. We had an exciting meeting yesterday where we discussed possible topics for his presentation and I can promise you that it's going to be epic. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 08 October 2021 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Presenter: Wendy Loewen, ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership and co-author of The Culture Question

    Over the past 19 months, maintaining and building workplace culture has been a challenge. Add to that the 4th wave of the pandemic, the conflicts related to vaccine requirements, the increase in angry clients, and the inability to meet in large groups to share meals, has shifted the internal culture of our organizations. Wendy Loewen will tell us why culture is so important to the work we do and how we can build it back better.


    Facilitated by Peter Bailey, Free Rein & Associates. Panelists: Lori Forgeron, Workforce Development Consulting Services of Northern BC, Shauna Wouters, Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, and Jackie Theisen, Dawson Creek Catholic Social Services Society.

    Delivering employability services to rural and remote communities comes with its own set of challenges making for some great stories and some innovative work-arounds. Hear from the mavericks of the sector in this panel discussion about how they overcome the obstacles, share their successes, and tell you what they really wish others knew.

    PANEL: Career Development for Diverse Clients

    Facilitated by Roberta Borgen. Panelist TBC (co-authors of the book Beyond the Basics)

    Diversity is a complex, multi-faceted construct which includes countless inter-related characteristics and influences. Career Development Professionals (CDPs) who go “beyond the basics” are able to adopt a more nuanced approach rooted in a client’s unique expression of cultural identity(ies). This panel will support practitioners in examining some of the unique challenges encountered by diverse clients as they endeavour to move their careers forward while facing complex barriers to employment and career success. Hear from editor of Career Development for Diverse Clients: Beyond the Basics, Roberta Borgen, and a panel comprising a variety of chapter contributors to the book, as they discuss how customized, relevant, and culturally informed interventions can strengthen the CDP-client working relationship and outcomes. Leave better equipped to adopt a more culturally competent approach to career and employment services.

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