Persons with Disabilities Accessibility to Technical Occupations LMP Report

People with ‘diversAbilities’ was the subject of an ASTTBC project funded by the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. Shown above, at the September 27th announcement (l – r): Shawn de Raaff, Research Coordinator, BC Centre for Employment Excellence; Brent Mulhall, Vice-President of Business Development and Strategy, Back in Motion; Jamie Millar-Dixon, Recruitment Specialist, BC Partners in Workforce Innovation; John Leech, CEO, ASTTBC; and Amelia Cooper, Project Coordinator.

This Labour Market Partnership (LMP) project focused on developing strategies to assist employers from the applied science and engineering sector to consider the untapped talent pool of persons with disabilities to address their skills shortages.

A recent report from the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table identified the looming labour market supply challenges for engineers, geoscientists, technologists and technicians with 31,000 potential job openings needing to be filled by 2024. This demand vs. supply imbalance within BC’s tech sector was also identified in the consultations of the BC Tech Sector Labour Market Partnership, highlighting the potential impact to the growth of BC’s businesses requiring an additional 14,500 other workers (i.e. under-represented groups)
to fill key roles.

The Persons with Disabilities Accessibility to Technical Occupations project final report outlines recommendations to support employers integrating persons with disabilities into our sector. The recommendations are situated within the context of BC’s two key provincial strategies; Accessibility 2024 and the BCTECH Strategy 2016, aligning ASTTBC’s commitment to linking persons with diverse abilities with employment opportunities within the tech sector.

“Our research indicates that currently PWD consist of 1% of our sector workforce. We believe there is an opportunity for our sector to claim a leadership position in hiring ‘People with Diverse Abilities’ and believe this unique pool of untapped labour could potentially help mitigate widely projected skill shortages in technical occupations in the coming years.”
John Leech, AScT, CAE Chief Executive Officer  ASTTBC.

ASTTBC extends a thank you to member companies for attending and supporting the Employer Working Group Sessions as part of the ASTTBC DiverseAbilities Labour Market Partnership. In particular, ASTTBC would like to thank our project partners from Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC), Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia (ACEC-BC), British Columbia’s Prior Learning Action Network (BC Plan), BC Centre for Employment Excellence, Back in Motion, and Surrey Board of Trade for their participation in the Project Steering Committee and encouraging their members’ participation in the various employer engagement initiatives. Finally,  we acknowledge the support of our funder Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, through its Community and Employer Partnership Fund, not only for its financial assistance but also its guidance throughout the implementation of this initiative.

This project explored persons with disabilities (PWD) accessibility to technical occupations. The study, along with the Employer Sessions and Sector Survey responses, exceeded expectations. The final report was submitted to the government on January 20th and some preliminary findings and recommendations were as follows:

– 34 ASTTBC member companies attended the Employer Working Group Sessions in Burnaby and Surrey
– 169 ASTTBC member companies completed to Sector Survey and 38 respondents expressed interest in moving forward with support for ASTTBC to increase accessibility of persons with disabilities (PWD) to technical occupation
– Over 45% of respondents indicated they were currently hiring PWD
– Over 56% of respondents express concern about future workforce shortages
– Over 60% of respondents admitted they could be doing more to recruit PWD

View the full report HERE:  Persons with Disabilities LMP – Final Report _FINAL_January 19 2017

As a result of the findings, ASTTBC intends to establish a TECHAbility webpage with resources for employers & PWD’s. In addition, ASTTBC submitted a Research and Innovation (R&I) proposal under Community Employer Partnership Funding to further explore means of increasing PWDs in our sector. Companies interested in participating in this initiative please contact Jacqueline de Raadt, Manager, Executive Initiatives at or 604-585-2788 X260.

John Leech, ASTTBC CEO and  Jamie Millar-Dixon, Principal Consultant, MacLeod Silver HR Business Partners & Recruitment Specialist,  sign the ‘Commitment to Guiding Principles’ for BC Partners in Workforce Innovation.

John Leech, ASTTBC CEO shares remarks at the announcement of this unique and ground-breaking Labour Market Partnership project.