The conceptualization of this study was initiated through the Harris Centre Thriving Regions Process which provides funding and support to researchers from Memorial University to build partnerships that help promote thriving social and economic
regions through applied research. In 2019 community members who attended a workshop on the Burin peninsula organized by the Harris Centre identified four priority areas that could support community, economic and social development in the
The study covers two of the priority areas: 1) Attraction and retention of workers and families, and, 2) Ocean health and seafood opportunities, through the study of recruitment and retention in the aquaculture sector in the Burin Peninsula.
The objective of this research project was to co-create with community and industry partners:
1) An understanding and a plan for addressing issues of recruitment & retention of the aquaculture workforce, including:
• Understanding labour shortages [current workforce, potential employment opportunities, gaps in training, education, skills,
recruitment strategies at company and community level, Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Seasonal work patterns, etc.]
• Understanding issues related to immigration and migrant workers [worker and potential long-term community members: attraction and support for international workers and their families]
• Understanding issues related to education and training
2) An understanding and a plan for addressing opportunities for sustainable aquaculture employment, including:
• Creating long-term, secure, full-time, non-precarious work opportunities; understanding the issues around local vs non-local workforce; addressing sustainable industry practices, risk mitigation and ramifications for employment, and sustainable ocean management for other ocean users (fish harvesters, recreational etc.)
In focusing on both recruitment and retention and sustainable aquaculture employment in the emerging salmon aquaculture industry on the Burin Peninsula, we aimed to bring our knowledge of these two areas to the key stakeholders and communities and start a conversation about the potential benefits, concerns, and solutions for dealing with employment in aquaculture. We envisioned two potential main deliverables: 1) A collaborative report/presentation on potential benefits,
concerns, and solutions; and, 2) a website that could be used to link potential employees with training, educational institutions, community supports, and employment opportunities.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, research methods had to be adjusted, and community engagement scaled back. Therefore, we did not go forward with the website deliverable. The report findings are based on 22 semi-structured key informant interviews and an online survey with 91 participants, as well as secondary findings from newspaper articles, and government and industry reports.
Preliminary findings from both the interviews and surveys showed that there was an overall desire for increased information and greater transparency on future employment opportunities that would allow individuals interested in working in the
aquaculture industry, as well as educational institutions, and other community labour support programs, to plan, prepare, and align training with future employment.
Read the full report here.