by Gloria Welton
After hearing Premier Dennis King comment on the province’s priorities going into 2021, The Employment Journey was inspired to interview him to speak further on the subject.
In addition to providing services, government also has a role to play in connecting Islanders with government programs and supports to assist them in reaching their full potential.
“We have heard Islanders say they are unaware of some existing programs and services, so we will be making a conscious effort in 2021 to promote the suite of government services and community resources available for Islanders,” says Premier King.
211 PEI is a relatively new service that was launched in June 2020. By checking the 211 PEI website, people can find information on a wide range of topics such as mental health and addictions, housing, financial assistance, employment, and family services.
“In its first six months, 211 has been able to help over 15,000 Islanders either by phone or website visits by connecting them with services or information they needed,” says Premier King.
The province recently celebrated “2-11” Day on February 11, 2021 and promoted 211 to Islanders as a go-to tool for information and community services available across the province.
To explore what 211 PEI offers, visit www.pe.211.ca
Career change requires research
Ensuring Islanders have access to the right service at the right time is key. “Islanders who are considering a career change should consider research to be the first step to exploring opportunities that best suit their needs,” says Premier King.
“It is also important to know that Government provides financial support of approximately $4M annually to external employment assistance service providers that assist Islanders with career planning.”
For a list of external services, visit Resources for Employment | Government of Prince Edward Island
More questions for the Premier of PEI
Q: If Islanders who have been living off-Island want to return, what is the first step in obtaining employment?
“We always love to hear about Islanders wanting to return home. I encourage them to learn more about current trends in the job market. Some industries are experiencing a labour shortage, and there are programs to help people upgrade or learn new skills if they are interested in changing industries.
“There are great people working at organizations like Career Development Services, Skills PEI, and Work PEI who are a tremendous resource and can provide insight based on what they are seeing in the job market. You never know what you can find out over a conversation.”
Career Development Services: www.cdspei.ca
Skills PEI: www.skillspei.com
Work PEI: www.workpei.ca
Q: If others across Canada want to settle on PEI and find work, what is their first step?
“Well, if they are looking to live on PEI, they are already demonstrating sound judgment! Similar to Islanders who are looking to return home, I would encourage them to reach out and connect with business leaders and employers on PEI.
“I’ve yet to run into a PEI business leader or employer who wouldn’t want to have a conversation with someone who has interest in their field of work. Networking is key – and although networking events aren’t possible during COVID-19, there is still a lot of value in connecting or scheduling a quick Zoom call.”
To explore PEI industries, visit www.employmentjourney.com/industries
Q: If immigrants outside Canada want to explore their options on PEI, what is their first step?
“PEI has benefited from immigration in so many ways over the last number of years. The first step for anyone living outside of Canada and looking to call PEI home is to create an expression of interest through the Office of Immigration. There are programs and services available through that office for recognition of qualifications and education.”
Office of Immigration: www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/office-immigration
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing our workforce on PEI?
“Both the workforce and the economy on PEI have experienced significant growth over the past decade. Today, we are experiencing challenges where the demand for workers exceeds our available supply of people.
“Labour was our biggest challenge before the pandemic and it will continue to be our biggest challenge moving forward. That is why we’ve made significant investments to assist Islanders with training and education in strategic sectors to help increase the availability of skilled labour for employers.”
For a list of education/training options on PEI, visit www.employmentjourney.com/education-training/
Q: If someone wanted to be self-employed, what is a starting point? What supports are in place to provide information and guidance for those considering buying a business on PEI?
“The first step for Islanders considering self-employment is to connect with resources in their community to develop a plan.
“A key role of our recently announced Business Navigator is to provide one-on-one personalized and timely support for anyone owning, operating, or growing a business. This single point of contact will walk people through applicable provincial regulations and help them determine what is required to be compliant.
“Additionally, the Navigator provides information and resources for supports such as Government funding and grants, financing, loans, information on municipal regulations, and anything else outside the scope of provincial regulatory requirements.
To access this service, call 1-833-335-0536 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What measures need to be in place for industries such as Aerospace, Tourism, Accommodations, and Food & Beverage struggling to maintain their business and staff like never before?
“Our industry partners are best suited to identify challenges that may exist and provide guidance to government on how to help address any challenges that would prevent economic recovery. We pride ourselves on learning directly from the industries and working collaboratively to move forward.
“All sectors facing unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19 have been actively engaged with government departments to identify appropriate steps for economic recovery. Our government will continue to respond to the needs of our business community on PEI.”
Q: How can we better prepare the next generation to adapt to the shifts in the economy while they are still in the school system?
“Our Island youth have demonstrated their resilience and their ability to overcome challenges. We are committed to ensuring youth have access to key services that will assist with career planning and other activities to ensure a successful transition to the workforce. Increasing awareness is extremely important for the province to be successful and this is something that we are keen to improve.”