Getting back in the work force for 50-Plus
Member of Parliament Shelly Glover attended a press conference in Winnipeg announcing ThirdQuarter’s launch in the Manitoba capital and $780,000 in funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).
The federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 also committed $6 million over three years to help ThirdQuarter connect Canadians aged 50-plus with jobs in urban centres across the country.
The program plans to expand into Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, the lower B.C. mainland and Toronto by September 2012. In addition, ThirdQuarter will extend its services throughout Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.
“Older workers are an absolute vital necessity in our workforce and we want to support them,” said Glover, a Winnipeg MP and parliamentary secretary to HRSDC Minister Diane Finley.
ThirdQuarter uses an innovative online process at www.thirdquarter.ca to match the essential skills of Canadians in the third quarter of their lives with the needs of businesses seeking mature, experienced workers.
The program started as a two-year pilot project in May 2010 and was an initiative of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC). The project ran in 14 smaller communities in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia and was funded by local chambers of commerce and HRSDC.
“In those regions, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce idea led to 1,100 older workers who found jobs,” Glover noted. “With a track record like that, how could we say no?”
MCC president Graham Starmer said businesses in major Canadian cities will save time and money by using ThirdQuarter to address skills shortages, while workers will be able explore new job opportunities.
“I think the need for employees is in great demand, particularly in Western Canada, and the opportunity of having this program to engage older workers to bring them into the economy is a great direction to be in,” Starmer said.
“The pool of talent, experience, understanding, mentorship – and they’re trained – reflect positively on the opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the ThirdQuarter project and fill their needs.”
The press conference was held at a Canada Safeway store. The company used ThirdQuarter when it was pilot in Thompson, Man., and plans to continue.
John Graham, director of public affairs and government relations for Canada Safeway, said the grocery chain has 29,000 employees across Western Canada.
“I can tell you there are a number of vacancies across our operating systems, opportunities, really, to employ older Canadians and ensure we build the economy and provide great work experiences for those older Canadians,” Graham said.
The company tries to ensure its employees reflect the diversity of its customers.
“This formalized program really provides us with an opportunity to employ more older Canadians with a lifetime of transferrable skills and experiences,” Graham said.
“Our experience with older Canadian employees is they often bring a better sense of what our customers are looking for. They’ve been there, they’ve shopped our stores, they have a high level of customer-service expectation – the level of service that we want to deliver.
“Older workers are more patient, require less training and need less supervision because of their maturity. We find that our older employees are more loyal and less likely to job hop, as well as being equally more flexible and reliable in terms of work schedules… And, frankly, older workers informally are terrific work and life mentors to our younger employees, sought after or not.”
ThirdQuarter executive director Bill Smith appreciated the federal government’s continuing support.
“That investment has allowed us to test the concepts and prove that there are demands and there are new opportunities for older workers,” Smith said.
“The new funding that comes to us from the Government of Canada allows us to accelerate our plan, our dream of making this truly a national program.”