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Page 22 HUMBOLDT JOURNAL May 9, 2012

The best skills training doesn’t happen in the classroom Seven out of 10 workers get their first job in tourism, whether part time during school, as a summer job or starting a new career. Nearly 60,000 people work in 3,700 tourism-related businesses in Saskatchewan, including attractions, events, hotels and restaurants. Right now, the tourism sector faces a worker shortage. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that a shortage of skilled labour is the top barrier facing businesses today. Nowhere is that shortage felt more acutely than in booming Saskatchewan. The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) estimates that Saskatchewan’s tourism sector could experience a shortage of about 1,300 workers by the end of this year, rising to about 6,500 within 10 years. That labour shortage is compounded by a skills shortage. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney recently pointed out that workers often don’t have the skills or experience to match the immediate needs of employers. One way to address those shortages is by training on the job. The Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC) provides workplacebased training that lets employees develop indus-


try-recognized career skills, while at the same time addressing employers’ needs for qualified workers. “More and more, especially as labour shortages start happening, people can go from high school directly to a well-paying industry job,” says Darcy Acton, Manager of Industry Human Resource Development at STEC. “Once you’re in a well-paying job, it’s hard to entice you back into a regular post-secondary stream, if it means leaving the job to attend a program full time. Workplace based training gives you the flexibility to jump right into an industry job, learn on the job, and then formalize that learning, such by acquiring industry-recognized certifications.” For employers, it means retaining a full complement of experienced staff because employees don’t have to leave the workplace, except for short periods, to attend post-secondary schooling, Acton says. Tourism occupations are well suited to workplace-based training. Learning can take place without disrupting the business cycle, and the outcomes apply directly to the job. Workplace-based training can complement previously completed post-second-

ary education, lay the groundwork for entering fulltime studies, and support life-long learning. Apprenticeship There are three tourism trades in Saskatchewan, providing the opportunity to start as an apprentice and work toward becoming a Journeyperson Food and Beverage Person, Guest Services Representative, or Cook. Training takes place almost entirely on the job. The first step toward becoming a journeyperson is to start work in the trade. The current job market in Saskatchewan means that there are plenty of places to start. From there, work experience under the supervision of a certified journeyperson or provincial joint training committee (industry professionals convened by the provincial apprenticeship commission) provides workplace-based, on-the-job training. The Guest Services Representative Trade and Food and Beverage Person Trade require a one-year apprenticeship combined with work experience. A cook going the “tradesperson” route, someone practicing the fullness of the trade, can challenge the national interprovincial trade exam after working a minimum of 8500 hours within 6.5 years. There is a wide range of career opportunities available to a journeyperson, says Diane Cohoon, Training Manager at STEC, a journeyperson Food and Beverage Per-son and member of the provincial Trade Board for tour-ism trades. “Journeyperson Food and Beverage Persons tend to be in demand for supervisory roles, at a minimum,” Cohoon says. “We often see them move up to Food and Beverage Manager, Director of Food and Beverage, or Director of Corporate Training.” It’s common to find journeypersons as owner/ operator of their own business, Cohoon says. emerit Professional and Specialist Certifications Of more than 400 recognized tourism occupations, 25 are eligible for rigorous emerit professional certification through the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, covering frontline, supervisory and management work. Certification recognizes workers who meet National Occupational Standards in their field. As with apprenticeships, the first step toward certification is to be working in the occupation, then begin specialized training toward gaining recognition. Certification in some occupations is required when working toward journeyperson status. Each occupation is a little bit different, but beyond attaining the necessary industry hours, it can take as little as a month to get a professional certification, though most people complete the process around the six-month mark. “We like to see people finish within a year,” Acton says. “You get your experience, write the exam, do the evaluation if there is one (for Specialist certification), six months to a year period seems to be about right. You can take your time, finish every component and still be up to date.” “There are examples of people who start out at the front desk and become general manager,” says Acton. “From general manager, they become divisional managers of properties. It depends on the industry, but we see a lot of that in tourism.” “It’s important to know the front line jobs, because if you’ve worked on the front line jobs you know exactly how customer satisfaction affects business retention and employee retention,” she adds. “It becomes clearer if you’ve experienced all the jobs on the path to a management position.”


Page 23 HUMBOLDT JOURNAL May 9, 2012

U of S students helping to revive Landis Community School On March 9th, eleven senior students from Edwards School of Business travelled to the small town of Landis, SK – population 200 – as part of a class project. But they got more than they bargained for… Some of the students were working on course-based applied projects for Professor Chelsea Willness’s COMM 343 class, which incorporates an experiential learning component called Community Service-Learning. Student teams are paired with a community organization for the duration of the semester, enabling the students to apply what they learn in the classroom while providing a service to their organization – like developing a customized recruitment strategy for attracting volunteers, or perhaps a focus on board member engagement and

retention. Others on the trip were part of Professor Keith Wi l l o u g h b y ’ s COMM 498 course, which also has students gaining hands-on experience by working with organizations to apply their learning in real time. The purpose of the excursion to Landis was primarily to meet with some of the organizations our students are working with, but it turned into much more. The Grade 11-12 class in Landis had been asked to organize the visit as part of their ‘Leadership 30’ course, and from that small connection, rural hospitality took over and spread – classroom visits, a special lunch prepared for the Edwards

Live and Learn

projects provides invaluable experience to the students but I also feel proud to be a part of a project that has the potential to give back to the community.” It may be small, but the community of Landis is full of remarkable people achieving amazing things. Parents, business owners, farmers, and teachers have banded together in numerous committees and citizen groups to grow the town’s economic viability and keep the doors of their school open, despite a gradually dwindling population. It’s a story so many of us in Saskatchewan have heard before (put your hand up if you come from a town that lost its hospital, or school, or both)…. but the Landis citizens’ determination, creativity, and heart give you a strong sense that this story will have a happy ending…

University of Saskatchewan residences welcome students to their new homes

New residences opened last fall on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, and they are quickly making a difference for students from around the world. “In terms of developing social relationships, there’s nothing better than living in res,” said Renae Zook, third-year biochemistry student and resident advisor (RA) in Spruce Hall, one of the new student residences in College Quarter on the U of S campus. She has lived in residence since she originally moved to the U of S from Trochu, AB, about an hour and a half north east of Calgary, to take the classes she needs to apply to the Western College of Veteri-nary Medicine. “When I first moved here, I stayed in my room and only left to buy textbooks. After a day and a half, I was starving,” Zook laughed. “I went to Marquis Hall to eat and sat down with some people, and I’m still friends with some of the people that were at that table.” Over 1,700 students currently live in residence at the U of S, with about 660 additional beds slated to open by early 2013. The growing demand for student housing is fuelled in part by the support and services offered to residence students, which are especially helpful to students new to Saskatoon. “The ethos of residence is student support,” said Sylvia Cholodnuik, residence manager. “The student life staff, the residence staff, the custodial staff, we’re all here to create a positive student experience.” That staff includes RAs like Zook, who are upper-year students who are there for students to


students at the school library, and personalized tours of the town and its organizations. The Grade 6-8’s and Grade 9-10’s asked if our students would speak to their classes to help them understand a tricky case study they were working on. They wanted to know, “How would you create a healthy and productive work environment?” and “What do you think empowers people to take on a leadership role, and what has

inspired you to become a better leader?” “Our students were shining ambassadors for Edwards,” remarks Chelsea Willness, who accompanied the group on their road trip, “they engaged with the younger students and demonstrated real leadership capabilities, and moments later transitioned into conducting professional business meetings with their organizations. I love to challenge my students to ‘go be excellent’ and they never disappoint.” HR major Angelise Kildaw summed up her thoughts about the visit to Landis, stating “Not only do I feel that being involved in such

talk to and co-ordinate residence activities; advisors, who co-ordinate and support the RAs; and residence life co-ordinators, who are full-time live-in staff. Be-

As more students live at the U of S, residence staff members are finding new ways to work with other groups both on and off campus. “It’s really exciting to see what the possibilities are to work with others to create positive experiences and support for all these groups,” said Cholodnuik. “In terms of how students are building a community, I think we are meeting our goals.” A range of activities like pancake breakfasts, casino nights and dances, Saskatoon Blades games and sushi-making nights ensure there is something that everyone will have a good time doing. Zook knows first-hand the benefits of not only participating in the activities, but just living in student residence and would recommend it to anyone moving to attend the U of S. “There’s always something going on,” she said. “If it’s 3 a.m. and you can’t sleep there’s someone watching TV or studying. And for parents, it’s just a comfort factor. You don’t have to worry.” For information on the U of S student residences, visit

tween the three levels of staff, residence students have 24-hour coverage. Additional support is found with the faculty-inresidence, currently offered at Voyageur Place and College Quarter. The faculty member lives in residence and offers students academic advice and support, and co-ordinates drop-in tutoring time led by graduate students.


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