Skills shortage more fiction than fact #ubc #yteubc

by Stephen Petrina on December 31, 2013

Jessica Barrett, Vancouver Sun, December 31, 2013–¬†For Stephen Tarrant, fears of a looming skills shortage in Canada, particularly in the lucrative natural resources sector, are downright laughable.

After six years of expensive, intensive post-secondary training, Tarrant graduated last year from Memorial University with a degree in economic geology, a published honours thesis and several terms of paid fieldwork under his belt.

But in the year since leaving school, the 24-year-old has learned a harsh truth – a degree tailor-made for the much-touted mining and energy sector does not guarantee a job in it.

“I’ve probably had, without exaggeration, 300 applications sent to different companies across the country, and basically heard nothing back,” a weary Tarrant said by phone earlier this month. He had just finished a long day serving Christmas shoppers for minimum wage at a Target store in St. John’s.

Tarrant’s retail reality – he holds another part-time gig at a Starbucks location – is particularly bitter given the seemingly never-ending talk of skills shortages in a sector advertised as the future of Canada’s economy. For him, each news story or government announcement on the topic feels like the twist of a knife.

“I’m just flabbergasted,” he said. “I don’t understand how they’re pumping this into students when I couldn’t buy a job right now if I wanted one.”
Read more: Vancouver Sun