Students Not Getting Enough Work Experience Opportunities

Closing the Skills Gap Requires Students to get Real-Life Work Experience Early On

Better Partnerships with Schools and Businesses Needed

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a tight labour market with an increasing number of job vacancies, employers are facing a growing skills gap. Too many young Canadians are graduating with degrees and skills that don’t match the needs of employers.

An effective way of closing the skills gap is to provide students with real-life work experience before they graduate. While there are programs such as co-op placements at the post-secondary level, there are few work experience opportunities at the secondary level. Having secondary students learn early on about workplace culture, how their educational experience translates into the real world, and what educational disciplines are the most sought, will help ensure students are graduating with the skills and education employers need.

Daniel Purdy, an Express Employment Professionals franchise owner in Abbotsford, British Columbia, understands the importance of having students integrated into the workplace.

“It is imperative that students witness firsthand, and learn early on, how their classroom lessons translate into the workplace,” he said. “Applying new concepts and book knowledge in a practical way will further reinforce the student educational experience and help direct the field of study they choose to pursue.”

Shane DeCoste, an Express franchise owner in Halifax, Nova Scotia, agrees, and points out that employers need to provide these opportunities to help solve the skills gap they are facing.

“Students need to be exposed to in-demand career options earlier on to avoid spending time and resources on a degree only to find it is not relevant to employers in today’s economy,” DeCoste said. “Businesses need to provide opportunities for students so that they can start training the workforce that they need. It is vital that students know the jobs that are in-demand right now and will be in the future, so they can make decisions about what degrees to pursue accordingly.”

Purdy points out that having a workforce with relevant education and skills is not the only way employers benefit from having students integrated into the workforce early on.

“Employers also benefit by having their standard work practices, internal culture and technological practices experienced and challenged by the new and fresh perspective of a student,” Purdy said. “Students can potentially help to identify, simplify and even eliminate waste and unnecessary complexities.”

DeCoste adds, “Employers and educators need to do a better job of working together to ensure the workforce of the future has the skills and education required to help the economy thrive.”

“Job vacancies continue to rise and the skills gap continues to increase,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. “That means we need to continue drawing people into the workforce that have the skills employers require. Businesses, educators and community leaders need to work together to ensure that students graduate with the education and skills required for the jobs of today and the future.”

If you would like to arrange for an interview to discuss this topic, please contact Ana Curic at (613) 858-2622 or email

About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 800 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Since its inception, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.4 billion in sales and employed a record 540,000 people in 2017. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

2018 11 14 Graphic Work Experience for Students