Continuing to manufacture our core down-filled jackets in Canada instead of outsourcing overseas is the right decision, but it’s not an easy one. When apparel manufacturing largely went overseas a number of decades ago, skillsets in Canada were in danger of being lost as jobs were decimated. One of our greatest challenges was finding enough skilled employees to meet continued growing demand for Canada Goose products.
We saw an opportunity to lead by proactively doing something about this gap and taking action in a way that is unequalled in the manufacturing space in Canada. Our solution is to train people from diverse backgrounds who are ready and willing to learn and simultaneously to create a unique labour pool through opening Sewing Training Schools at seven locations across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, and Winnipeg. Our Sewing Training Schools welcome and train the unemployed, underemployed and immigrants for skilled production jobs at Canada Goose. The majority of students are hired at Canada Goose with opportunity for advancement to managerial positions.
Over a six-week program, student trainees learn from experienced employees around them and learn progressively more exacting sewing techniques needed to create the extraordinary level of quality garments that Canada Goose is known for. Second language program certification in English or French is also offered in order to increase opportunities across the company.
This training prepares people not only for production line positions, but also sets them up to move into other positions as assistant supervisors, supervisors, engineers, and managers. To date, more than 800 people have completed our training program and moved on to other roles at Canada Goose. The on-the-job training and advancement opportunities are attracting Canadians to come and work for us and enabling new Canadians to thrive in this country.
In 2015, Canada Goose transitioned from a traditional apparel-making environment to one that embraces lean-manufacturing principles. With that came an easier way to train employees. Today we have faster throughput while still maintaining our highest quality standards. Our ability to train people for specific locations within those production lines is a critical element of that success.
Our story is a part of Canada’s story, and our Sewing Training Schools is one of the ways our Made in Canada commitment is put into action.