The team members at the Western REN have been busy bees lately planning our 4th Annual Summit, Landing Talent, which takes places October 17th, 2017, at the Clare Veterans Center.
Some of our team members are originally from Western NS, while some have moved here from other areas throughout Canada. But, one thing we all have in common, we are all committed to the region. We’ve all made a conscious decision to live our lives here. We live in Western NS because we have deep ties to the region, or because we love the more rural lifestyle and all that it represents.
However, economies must be resilient to survive. Living in a rural area means our economy is based on traditional resources, which must adapt in order to withstand changing pressures such as: global economies, price of oil, climate change, and international trade agreements.
RENs were created to ‘guide and navigate’ economic development. Well what does that mean? Supposing economic development refers to the ‘prosperity of a place”, then the Western REN’s focus is to help the Western region prosper.
To help the region prosper, means we need to know what assets we own as a region. It means we need to know our local strengths, which are people, the fishery, and affordable land, to name a few. Our local weaknesses, which are youth out-migration, our aging infrastructure, and a declining labour force. We need to be realistic about what opportunities our region is actually ready for. It’s also crucial that we identify what opportunities we still need to prepare for, such as renewable energy and information technology in rural areas.
We also need to plan: what can we do with our strengths, are there entrepreneurs or investors who would fill our weaknesses, where/what are the markets for the opportunities we already have, what investments would be needed to be ready for other opportunities.
Resource based economies are dependent on a large, reliable workforce and with so many young people leaving the region, many employers are experiencing limited growth.
The Western REN has made workforce a priority issue. Western REN has been learning about the specific regional challenges and has started working with employers to improve their access to local employment services and their workplace productivity.
Because workforce is vital to the prosperity of the region, it will be the theme at our upcoming summit: Landing Talent.
Employers, employees (and potential employees), and employment service providers are encouraged to register for this event. The day will include panel discussions on the perspective from both the employers and the employees with real life examples of their challenges, and some of the solutions.
To register for this FREE event, click HERE.