For workers or job seekers, it’s not always clear how they can move up from an entry-level position to a more rewarding one. As a result, they may miss an opportunity that could lead to a more successful and satisfying career.
That’s where a career ladder comes in. Like its namesake, a career ladder is a tool that can help workers reach the heights of their chosen profession by showing them the steps they need to take to move up the career ladder.
For workers and job seekers in the greater Kawarthas region, the Workforce Development Board (WDB) has made interactive career ladders available at wdb.ca/career-ladders/ for four sectors where local employers have jobs to fill: agriculture, construction, food service, and manufacturing.
The four career ladders show the types of progressive jobs available at each rung of the ladder, including examples of job titles, job descriptions and duties, hourly wages, and general skills needed. They also provide information about educational and training opportunities to help individuals get the skills they need to move up the ladder, as well as high-demand jobs available right now at local employers.
Jennifer Lamantia, CEO of Workforce Development Board, says “these career ladders can be utilized not only by job seekers or those seeking career advancement, but also by local employment services or career counselling, literacy and basic skills providers, and in educational institutions to help plan career pathways.”
WDB’s career ladders were born out of Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), a workforce development program announced last August that provides unemployed and underemployed people with training and work placement for high-demand jobs in food service, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Administered by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) in partnership with WDB, Fleming College, City of Kawartha Lakes Economic Development, and Muskoka-Kawartha Employment Services, the program also provides support for employers in Peterborough and the Kawarthas and the City of Kawartha Lakes to train and retain skilled talent.
Eva Rees, the workforce development project manager overseeing the P2P program with PKED, explains the link between Pathways to Prosperity and career ladders.
“We were looking at how workers can be made aware of what opportunities exist once they start at an entry-level job in any one of those high-demand sectors,” Rees says. “The idea with this tool is to show how a worker can progress in a career with further experience, training, and education and how higher-level jobs can lead to more opportunities financially.”
For example, the food service career ladder at wdb.ca/career-ladders/food-service-career-ladder/ has seven rungs, beginning from apprenticeship and then progressing from entry-level positions such as food counter attendants and kitchen helpers, to cooks, to chefs, to restaurant and food service managers, to supervisors and, at the very top of the ladder, entrepreneur and business owner.
At each rung, the median hourly wage is highlighted. The number of current job postings for each rung is also listed, which can be browsed on WDB’s online Local Jobs Hub with a simple click.
“It’s an interactive tool that provides not just the rungs on the ladder, but information about job seekers can move along to advance throughout their career, one step at a time,” Rees adds.
In addition, the career ladders describe the education and training resources available in our local area for each rung.
The career ladders offer workers an easy-to-understand guide for making decisions about the next step in their profession.
“If you’re at the second step and you want to go to the third, by looking at that step and the details, you can see exactly what’s available currently within our region, what the jobs look like, what they’re called, what the requirements are, and the minimum qualifications needed,” Rees explains.
“You can really get a good visual of what you’re striving for. It shows in black and white what the opportunities are and what you need to do to progress.”
Rees adds career counsellors and coaches working with PKED through local employment service providers have access to the career ladders, and use them as “a very positive motivator” to encourage workers looking to get a foothold in any one of the four sectors.
She says there’s a benefit for employers as well.
“As part of our conversations when we’re meeting with employers to discuss the Pathways to Prosperity program, we share the career ladder that’s applicable to their sector,” Rees says. “Not only does that confirm that the ladder is accurate and expresses the right way of climbing through a career in that sector, but it also shows the employer how other employers in their sector are advertising the positions that are available. It’s helpful for them to have that understanding.”
Along with the interactive career ladders, a series of videos are being produced that profile employers in the agriculture, construction, food service, and manufacturing sectors.
“In those videos, we’re interviewing employees that have worked their way up through the career ladders,” says Rees. “It’s a conversational side of the communication that goes hand-in-hand with the ladders.”
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On a personal level, Rees says she has seen the success of career ladders for workers in the Pathways to Prosperity program.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with participants who have gone through the program and have found themselves in a new career, trying to really move themselves up to a potential that they only dreamed about just a year ago,” she says.
Rees says the career ladders provide workers with a “clear picture” of how they can progress to a higher-level position, even if they aren’t in an entry-level position.
“It really is aspirational. It encourages people that — if they have previous experience, some education, and some training — using this tool can identify what rung on the ladder they should start at. It isn’t necessarily about starting right at the bottom. It’s about starting at the right place for them and what they have in their background and experience. This can help everybody at any career point.”
For more information about WDB’s career ladders, visit wdb.ca/career-ladders/. For more information about Pathways to Prosperity, visit investptbo.ca/jobmatch/.
This Employment Ontario program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
This branded editorial was created in partnership with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development and the Workforce Development Board. If your business or organization is interested in a branded editorial, contact us.