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the roundup

The best of the web on education from kindergarten to postsecondary, as chosen by Globe and Mail education editor Simona Chiose.

Are we going to need pipefitters in 10 years?

Trying to fix today's specific skills gap could take the focus off the long-term needs of the economy, says John Manley, the President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. Right now, industry understandably needs pipe-fitters for the oil sands but the question is if "we are equipping young people with the ability to learn."

Manley was talking at the end of a conference about the labour market "skills gap" on Monday. Billed as visionary in scope, the event, organized by the Council and the Canadian International Council, stuck a bit closer to the ground with much debate on teacher merit pay and the role of companies in training workers.

Rick Miner, former president of Seneca College and now an adviser to postsecondary institutions, pointed out that the skill shortage is not just a skill mismatch between jobs requiring higher levels of knowledge and workers without those skills, but also a demographic shortage that will require more people over 55 to stay in the workforce.

The Council wants to move the discussion into talking about how Canadian graduates can compete globally. Knowing multiple languages is one key, but this is not an asset that Canadians value as much they should, Manley thinks. "When you learn a second language you understand that people don't think the same…We're reading about Cyprus today and what it means for us. Global issues are domestic."

Mental health phone line for Ontario students coming

Ontario has announced that it is funding a 24-hour-a-day, 365 days a year mental health hotline for students in postsecondary institutions. The help line is modelled on the Kids Help Phone and is the most high-profile initiative in a slate of projects that also include mental health counsellors and support for services in the north of the province.

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