As the manufacturing and general labour job market has become more competitive, so too has the employers’ requirements. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself more competitive in today's labour market:
Grade 12/GED: Many employers hiring for manufacturing and general labour now require their workers to have a grade 12 diploma. Many mature workers entered the workforce when a grade 12 diploma wasn’t necessary and today are struggling to find work for this reason. It’s important to take today’s labour market realities into consideration and ensure that this doesn’t hold you back. We suggest making a plan with your Employment Counsellor on obtaining your grade 12 diploma or GED. We have worked with many people who have been through this journey and can point you in the right direction. On a positive note, one thing we have found with people getting their diploma or GED is that it’s usually easier than they originally thought! There are many resources in the community that can help you to make this happen.
Forklift Licence: One certification that many people use to find to work in manufacturing and general labour is a forklift licence. While many people in the past have driven forklifts, today they require proper training and licensure. Forklift training can be conducted at a number of locations and can be a cost-effective certification to get work in a warehouse setting. For those receiving Ontario Works, it should be noted that there is a program called Experience Matters which can help you to receive your forklift licence and gain on-the-job experience. Talk to your case worker about what might be available to you.
Driver’s Licence: For many jobseekers it’s not financially feasible to own and operate a vehicle. There are also many people who have chosen not to drive and instead use public transit or walk and cycle. While it’s a great choice to make for the environment, it makes the job-search more difficult. Employers perceive greater flexibility in workers who can drive to work. It also extends the range of area where you can apply to work and extends your potential working hours past the bus schedule. Many general labour jobs also require a driver’s licence as there may be work vehicles that you will need to drive. Having a driver’s licence will increase the number of positions you are able to apply to, so it may be of benefit to you in your job search.
Trades, Courses, and Certifications: There are a number of trades which work within manufacturing environments, such as Tool & Die, Millwright or Industrial Electrician. See our “Apprenticeships” section of this website for more information on getting into a trade. There are other courses and certifications that may be required in a manufacturing environment. A course in machining or panel wiring at our local college is an example. Remember, don’t just jump in and take a course hoping that it will get you a job – we can help you to research the course and the labour market needs to ensure you’re making the right choice with your time and money.