British Columbia finds itself at a crossroads concerning supply driven and demand driven careers and employment services according to a document prepared by the Social and Planning Research Council of British Columbia for ASPECT and for the British Columbia Career and Workforce Alliance. A booming economy has led to skills shortages and the need for demand driven career and employment services. The overall policy context is that from 2007 there is full devolution of labour market funding and responsibilities from federal to provincial level (including British Columbia) with a new Labour Market Development Agreement to be negotiated.
Evaluations of supply driven career and employment programmes and services in 2001 showed the lack of a strong connection to employers and employment. Demand driven services also have limitations especially as they have narrowly defined economic goals and a limited set of indicators for effective programme delivery. Neither do they address the issue of persistent unemployment for particular sections of the population. The authors argue the need for a comprehensive approach involving supply and demand driven approaches with a significant focus on skills development. Cost – Benefit Analysis should have appropriate and complete measures embracing measures of employment and earnings as well as social development indicators.
The document provides advice on best practice in careers and employment service delivery and on labour market policy evaluation. They advocate the use of local and community based guidance provision than the use of large private non-local and international firms to deliver the service.