The City of Barrie and partners were successful in securing $1,083,108 in funding through the Skills Development Fund (SDF), supported in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario, to address skills development and labour shortages within the manufacturing sector. The project addressed industry demands for increasing the future manufacturing workforce and enabling current and new employees to access skills training, including upskilling currently employed workers through a micro-credential program.
The goals of the program’s advertising campaign were to:
The above were accomplished by hosting a series of events and awareness campaigns focused on labour and advanced manufacturing to elevate and highlight the local manufacturing sector among identified target audiences.
Campaign #1: Women in Manufacturing
This campaign profiled local women who found a career in manufacturing. A “Women In Manufacturing” sharable video series was created with the key message of “meet X” and the pathway to become involved in manufacturing, as well as graphic stills that featured local women working in the manufacturing sector.
The Women in Manufacturing video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykQODHrXZME
Campaign #2: RapidSkills
This campaign was to promote the RapidSkills Program in general to potential participants and to employers. Two “RapidSkills Success Stories” videos were produced. One from the participant perspective and one from an employer perspective. The videos can be found here: https://www.georgiancollege.ca/corporate-training/training-areas/manufacturing-skill-trades/rapidskills/#success-stories
Campaign #3: Simcoe County Job Fair
A short, catchy promotional video was also produced entitled “Manufacturing Is…” to help build interest in manufacturing as a potential career option. The video can be found here:
The digital campaign resulted in over 162,000 LinkedIn impressions, over 1.2 million Facebook impressions and over 966,000 Instagram impressions.
Initially, there was difficulty in attracting new job seekers to manufacturing through the program despite various targeted efforts. To facilitate program uptake by the region’s job seekers, the project team connected with other local community and organizational partners, such as Ontario Works, Empower Simcoe, Immigrant Partnerships and Employment Programs, UPlift Black Barrie, Metis Nation, and other cultural and church groups to help promote the program.
This project was innovative and creative by appealing to groups typically not entering manufacturing workforce, including youth, women, and Canadian newcomers. Of the 225 program participants, 106 (47%) belonged to one or more under-represented groups, including 58 (26%) youth, 49 (22%) women, 6 indigenous participants, 3 racialized persons, and 2 persons with disabilities. Thirty Canadian newcomers from a wide range of countries were also supported by the project to gain new skills to be able to advance their careers in Barrie and Simcoe County.