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The First Work 2019 Futures Conference

Last week, between October 22 and 24, 2019, there was a magical conference. It was at the foot of the colourful canopy at Blue Mountain. Over 300 delegates discussed the future of work and workforce development. The conference was full of insight, positive energy, strategy, and, everybody’s favourite, labour market information! Three keynote speakers enthralled an audience of employment sector professionals from all over Ontario and Canada, engaging with things like the rising importance of the soft skill, the principle of addressing the disadvantage not the disadvantaged, and how to integrate data-driven results for meaningful social change.

Blue Mountain Rainbow

Though the focus was youth, the theory and action illustrated at the conference applies to any demographic–especially a workforce with four generations. Things in Human Resources need to change as does the active job search for the talent.

How do we prepare for the future of work?

Will robots take all our jobs?

The breakout sessions were incredibly useful as much of this was centred around frontline workers. Everything from closing pathway gaps to future skills, and from meaningful cultural collaboration and partnership to recognizing and battling unconscious bias, was on the table. Embrace without judgment seemed to be one unspoken consensus among delegates.

First Work Display Banner 2019Blue Mountain Village Conference Centre

Despite increasing technological advancement with things like automation and artificial intelligence, it is projected that Canada’s economy will add 2.4 million jobs in the next decade. Like anything, there is so much opportunity for positive change. But, also like anything, it is hard to engage individual stakeholders in matters that affect society as a whole. With wider collaboration between and among employment agencies, school boards, communities, workforce development boards, economic planning councils, businesses, and other regional partnerships, it is possible to improve the outlook of workforce development in Ontario and beyond.

Blue Mountain Village Night Townscape

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