Talk to almost any business owner and they will tell you that one of their greatest frustrations is finding the right people and then retaining them.
We have been extremely fortunate at Peel Scrap Metal to have been able to source and retain a core group of very competent individuals. Customers notice this in the way they handle and grade material and through their ability to answer questions and address any concerns. Consumers (the people we sell to) and suppliers notice this as well.
Unfortunately, we find that it is rarely the case that applicants to our job openings are specifically seeking work in our industry. More often than not, they end up simply falling into it. Only at that point, do they recognize the opportunities and excitement of the industry. Having said that we have some serious concerns about relying on mere coincidence to find the right people.
Scrap metal recycling is a mature industry, and includes trades that require many different skills.
We have talked previously about the size and scope of the scrap metal recycling industry. Established yards are now usually run by seasoned people and an increasingly younger cohort of professionals who have chosen a career path in the recycling industry. Why? Simply because they recognize its potential rewards and challenges as well as its vital role in the manufacturing industry and its environmental impact.
Like most businesses, scrap metal recycling has many moving parts. There are jobs in administration, human resources, sales and marketing, accounting, IT and so on.
But there are also skilled jobs which we feel should qualify as trades but that are not regarded as such. For example, there is an extensive apprenticeship involved for our buyers to become knowledgeable in identifying all of the different metals and alloys which we buy and sell and in becoming familiar with their chemistry and proper handling.
Experience, knowledge and training is required to reach the appropriate level of competency. It is no different than the requirements for other types of work that are regarded as trades such as hairstylist, tilesetter, cook, carpenter or glazier to name a few.
Where is the government recognition?
The problem is that the ‘skilled jops’ in our industry are not recognized, taught or talked about in a vocational way even though they are hands on and are career based. And this is despite the fact that they can also have handsome rewards and lead to even greater opportunities.
Now consider the outreach in Canada. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have developed a number of programs to address the foreseeable shortages in the labour market for skilled trades.
For or those undertaking a skilled apprenticeship, incentives may include:
- An Apprenticeship Incentive Grant of $2000.00
- An Apprenticeship Completion Grant of $2000.00
- An Apprenticeship Scholarship up to $1000.00
- Loans for Tools up to $800.00 interest free
- Tool deductions of half their yearly tool purchases up to $500.00 per year
Ontario Government Funding Benefits for employers can include:
- An Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit up to $2000.00 per year for the first 2 years
- An Apprenticeship Signing Bonus in the form of a funding grant up to $2000.00
- An Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit up to $40,000.00 0r 35% to 45% of the apprentice’s wages and benefits for the first four years (10K/year.
There is also the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program which was established more than fifty years ago to allow skills to be portable and thereby provide greater mobility and opportunity for workers.
We object to being left out.
Without the proper endorsements, the scrap metal recycling business is left to develop its own initiatives. Certainly, a large part of this falls back on us to ensure young people are aware of opportunities in our industry and that we are an option to consider when they are looking for a career.
Nevertheless, we would like to see government also take more initiative in the development of skilled tradespeople in the metal recycling industry. If we really want to move forward in the area of sustainability as a matter of policy, we will need to level the playing field and develop the human resources to do it.
As always, we would be happy to receive your views on this subject.
Don’t forget to download our new Peel Scrap App.
We are really excited to be able to provide this mobile convenience to our trade and manufacturing customers and to those generally looking to recycle their scrap metal. The App provides users of Iphones, Ipads and Ipods with an extension of the pricing chart that appears on our web site. It includes updated prices on a wider variety of metals and tracks their changes from the last pricing revisions.
The App also features easy to access location, hours of operation and contact information for our Mississauga and Oakville warehouses as well as a link to our main web site.
The App is free to download to Apple mobile devices. It is available at the Itunes App Store (Search Peel Scrap Metal Recycling ) or you can snap a picture of the QR Code below and link directly. You will find our new App logo starting to appear shortly in some of our advertising.