Several Domtar facilities are turning their attention to job readiness programs in an effort to train the next generation of workers for our industry. By working with local universities, vocational school and unions, we’re finding quality interns and new hires as well as providing continuing education and training opportunities for our existing workforce.
Take a look at what’s happening in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Debbie Kirkpatrick, human resources manager at our Kamloops Mill in Kamloops, British Columbia, has the same perspective on job readiness.
“We’re facing the biggest workforce demographic transition that we have ever experienced,” she says. “It’s important that there are education and training programs that introduce future employees to the career options in the pulp industry.”
By partnering with the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) School of Trades and Technology and the local Unifor union, Kamloops Mill is ensuring students and employees have access to quality trade-skills training that will directly benefit Domtar.
For example, the mill supported the development of the TRU Trades Foundation Training Program that introduces secondary-school students to the millwright trade. The students tour the mill to see a real industrial setting and learn how various processes work in the mill as opposed to learning about them only in a classroom setting.
Kamloops Mill pipefitters helped create a safety video for the TRU Pipefitter program that demonstrated a step-by-step procedure for line breaking. This practical safety training video is relevant for our industry and the pipefitting trade.
Other activities include equipment donations, support for TRU’s Women in Trades initiative and funds for student scholarships.
“In addition to the focus on trades training, we’re in the initial stages of developing an in-house operator training program to enhance the skills of recently hired field operators in the Fiberline area of the mill,” says Kirkpatrick. “Forty-eight percent of employees have been in the Fiberline for less than three years. These workers may not have learned all of the process details during their initial training, so our goal is to close the gap with this program.”
Looking ahead, Kirkpatrick says, “The Kamloops Mill needs to be innovative when it comes to preparing the next generation of workers. We need a combined approach that involves partnering with the local trade school, enhancing in-house training systems and proactively recruiting when we know someone is retiring to encourage a mentorship between the new worker and the retiring skilled worker.”
Learn more about how Domtar encourages job readiness and promotes careers in our industry: