Project Name: Workforce Development

In Winter 2017, WRTMC and RTO4 partnered to investigate and design a workforce development initiative that would directly address the needs of hoteliers in the region.

An ongoing challenge in Waterloo Region’s tourism sector is recruiting and retaining front-line talent. The sector has no focused, networked solution within the region to change the status quo. It would seem that most organizations continue to apply traditional recruiting, training and retention tactics to a situation that requires a more unconventional strategy given the current reality.

The workforce development plan, therefore, focuses on:

  • Facilitating the connections among business, education and the workforce to align skills and interests with real work opportunities
  • Attracting the right talent profiles for tourism positions through partnership with employment providers
  • Developing these individuals to meet the region’s workforce needs and opportunities in an efficient and effective manner
  • Expanding and retaining a tourism workforce to meet the future needs of the region while providing opportunities for growth within the sector and elevating the sector profile

This actionable workforce development project will help address the region’s recruiting, workforce training and talent-retention frustrations at the ground level where our stakeholders are currently struggling.

The process has been crafted in response to the specific feedback of regional stakeholders and is a balance of practical and theoretical learning. The lab is designed to select individuals with the right talents for entry-level tourism positions and load them with knowledge and skills through classroom and in-situ learning in an eight-week program. At graduation, job-ready candidates will move into open positions with our partner employers.

Key partners include, but are not limited to:

  • Conestoga College
  • Industry representatives: Chicopee Tube Park, Radisson Kitchener, Holiday Inn Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge Hotel & Conference Centre
  • The region’s Workforce Planning Board
  • Provincial partners OHRMA and OTEC

2019/2020 Objectives

Objective #1: Review pilot program; use key learnings to adapt and execute a second project to address the needs of tourism employers and workers.

Key Activities

  • Liaise with key stakeholders to finalize pilot design including selection, classroom and onsite
  • Execute pilot program.

 For more details on this project, please visit the 2019/2020 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 46-47.