Modernizing the Workplace with National Occupational Standard

Modernizing the Workplace with National Occupational Standard

Talent Attraction – A New Playbook for Industry

Modernizing the Workplace with National Occupational Standard

The role NOSs play in developing a productive and resilient workforce in times of change.

In recent years, employers have needed to adapt at an expeditious pace to incorporate advanced technology, acclimate to global issues, and accommodate changing consumer buying habits. The pressure put on many businesses has increased especially when factoring COVID-19’s impact on the industry. Along with these challenges, absenteeism and availability of workers is a big problem which affects the Canadian food and beverage manufacturing industry. This significance is highlighted by Food Processing Skills Canada’s 2020 Labour Market Information Survey Report in which 61% of respondents identified the availability of labour as a challenge.

As our world evolves around us, so do the careers that are foundational to Canada’s social and economic fabric. And with the adoption of new technologies and businesses growing at rapid rates, National Occupational Standards are essential in setting out the required skills and abilities that are needed for success. A National Occupational Standard (NOS) details the related knowledge, skills and abilities of an individual within an organization performing that occupation.

Recently, Food Processing Skills Canada developed the Food Production Supervisor National Occupational Standard with help from industry leaders across Canada. Several Food Production Supervisors across Canada met and were the foundation of our effort in developing this NOS. We are grateful for the experience and insight shared from the participants during these development meetings.

Hearing and amplifying the stories and experiences of people in our industry is especially important when gaining a picture of what is done day-to-day in these various occupations. By hearing their perspectives and learning about the workplace from an individual, we are able to set out the specific skills, abilities, and requirements for workers in these occupations.

After speaking with Marlene Rambeau and Osborne Burke from Victoria Co-Op Fisheries Ltd, it was apparent that National Occupational Standards were beneficial in times of change for their organization. At Victoria Co-operative Fisheries, technology has played a large role in developing better working conditions. “We have become so much more modern and work has been made much easier for our employees with new modern technologies like palette jacks and electronic lifters”, says Marlene Rambeau, Facility Manager. Osborne Burke, General Manager explained how new technology and protocols were also necessary to adapt to safety and health regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

National Occupational Standards are necessary for many organizations, like Victoria Co-op Fisheries. “We need to have professional standards; our staff want to have those standards and it’s important for our customers to see”, explained Burke.

For real workers to participate in NOS development meetings is important, as personal experiences from years on the job gives a strong understanding of the skills and abilities required for specific positions. Burke described the participants as “a wealth of knowledge; they have

been there nearly 30 years. It shows their own value, it can make things better. They may come up with key suggestions that can make life easier for everyone.” And while it is beneficial for employers when these National Occupational Standards are developed, participation in development meetings is equally valuable to participants. “They will gain knowledge from talking to other people and will bring this knowledge home. They will be able to teach the workers under them about how great it is to be trained specifically for something you want to do”, explained Rambeau.

Not only are these standards important for hiring purposes, but NOSs help improve education, recruitment, management and performance. National Occupational Standards are key in further developing the food and beverage manufacturing industry by setting performance benchmarks, standardizing labour requirements, and allowing for skill recognition in various occupations. For educators, NOSs allow students to be better prepared with new curriculum development and adaptation that is based in accurate occupation representation, training requirements and industry input.

For other industries, like healthcare, NOSs are used to develop competent healthcare support roles and set out qualifications to ensure safe and high-quality healthcare. In terms of a field of work like construction, NOSs help ensure safety of workers and proper standards being followed. While for the food manufacturing industry, NOSs are an essential hiring tool used when addressing the labour gap but also ensure that Canadian manufactured food is safe and high-quality.

With the food and beverage processing industry’s tight labour market and vast types array of occupations, developing NOSs is no easy task. Many NOSs for the food and beverage industry are still in the development process, and with technology, automation, and new innovated products being developed, new NOSs to reflect new or changing positions will be required.

Food Processing Skills Canada is grateful for the support from our industry officials in helping us develop HR tools and resources that will further our flagship goal of professionalizing the food and beverage industry. If you would be interested in learning more about the vast HR resources our Food Skills Library has to offer, click here or contact Tracy Biernacki-Dusza for more information.