OHS training and education must keep pace with changing workforce demographics, process automation and best practices in how people learn and change behavior. The design of an OHS program for the Manufacturing sector must review both traditional and alternate training delivery mechanisms while ensuring the inclusion of the necessary qualifications and core competencies for an OHS professional. The Phase 2 Research Report identified that consistent competency based training/education is the most important resource that companies will need to meet OHS challenges in the next 5 years.
Of the companies surveyed, only 20% provided employees with financial support for courses leading to higher levels of certification. Many workers in OHS positions have no formal OHS credentials and are more likely to be trained in-house than recruited externally with professional qualifications in hand. In fact, the most common path into the OHS profession in BC Manufacturing is through a mid-career move inside an organization. Firms are more likely to train an existing employee for an OHS role than to recruit externally. Prevalence of mid-career transitions into OHS roles for manufacturing workers signals a continued and possibly growing need for certification programs as a convenient route to upgrading OHS knowledge and skills.
The Phase 2 Research Report identified a wide range of existing diploma and certificate programs with variable formats, timeframes for learning, and options for in-class or online courses. This issue is closely tied to the need for an OHS competency framework, which in turn impacts the ability of education institutions to develop OHS training programs targeted to Manufacturing. This has created a lack of information and clarity about the educational pathway to become an OHS professional.