The towns of Marystown and St. Lawrence are assessing the availability of workers on the Burin Peninsula.
With the potential reactivation of the fluorspar mines in St. Lawrence, and possible peak employment of 370 jobs during construction, along with prospective work at the Peter Kiewit Offshore yards in Marystown in the future, the two towns believe it prudent to delve deeper into who might be out there to fill the jobs.
Both towns hired labour market analysts for one-year terms earlier this spring.
Pamela Cull is working for the Town of St. Lawrence.
Her research has focused on the mining industry in the province and, more specifically, the peninsula. Residents of the region can soon expect to find what she is calling a "labour market form" in their mailboxes.
"Once that's completed I can analyze the research and develop some policies, to prepare our labour market for a hopeful boom of prosperity.
"Basically, we need to research whether there are 370 qualified employees to work in the mines, in the various positions that they would have open there, without disrupting the rest of the labour market."
Cull said the survey features a number of pertinent questions.
"The 2006 census is the most current information that we have regarding labour and it's somewhat dated, and we don't really know where those people are right now."
Lisa Macleod began her employment with the Town of Marystown April 20.
"What I've set out to do is, basically, find out what skilled tradespeople are currently residing on the peninsula - what trades these people have. I'm going to be looking at what age groups they fall into.
"Then, another thing I'm going to be looking at are what projects are on the forefront."
She will then look at how the labour force required for those projects correlates with who is available.
"Any gaps in labour would be highlighted through that research and, of course, if there are indeed gaps, what we would look at is how we can go about filling those gaps."
Macleod's main method of research will include a random telephone survey of 2,500 people in the region, but will also feature a survey of high school students in the fall, personal interviews with the companies and a study of college programs available locally.
Both labour market analysts are hopeful residents see fit to participate.
Cull noted, "I think it's important for people to realize that it's not for personal gain. There's no one making a profit or anything off this.
"It really is to just help the Burin Peninsula, and (find out) whether there are people that don't want to work in the mining industry. I don't want to deter them from filling out the form either, because it really could be valuable information that any town on the peninsula could take and say, 'OK, there's opportunities for us to do this.'
"So, I'm just trying to encourage people to do them."
Macleod echoed that sentiment.
"I would say to people that we all want the same thing. We like where we're to. We live in a great area and we want to be able to work here as well.
"So, by working with people like myself, the Town of Marystown as well as other agencies, hopefully we can realize it. If nothing else, it'll point to areas that need to be looked at further."
The Southern Gazette