The Future Skills Centre (FSC) has invested in 30 community-based programs across Canada that aim to fill the skills gap and help workers acquire in-demand skills.
The investment is part of $37 million commitment over two years to support workers transitioning to new jobs and industries. Thirty projects were chosen from hundreds of submissions to a call for proposals released last year.
“These partnerships will help us map out lasting solutions that will help Canadians across the country recover now.”
FSC stated that it hopes these projects will help address the social and economic fallout from COVID-19 and technological advancement.
“The current crisis is creating a great deal of uncertainty for Canadian households and sectors,” said Pedro Barata, the FSC’s executive director. “An economic recovery that works for all Canadians will require that we start to build a skills development ecosystem that is more responsive to the changing realities of workers and employers.”
“These partnerships will help us map out lasting solutions that will help Canadians across the country recover now and thrive in the years to come,” said Barata.
The FSC is a Ryerson University-based research hub that invests in programs and academic research that address the future of skills and work in Canada. The centre is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.
“Canadian workers and employers are facing unprecedented labour market disruptions heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion. “Through these new projects, we can gain new insight on how workers transition to new jobs or industries and discover employer-led solutions to address the skills gap.”
Qualtrough said these findings will provide “the tools needed to re-establish a stable workforce and support economic recovery” in Canada.
The focus of the new FSC funded projects include leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies during Canada’s economic recovery, training workers in industries facing skills shortages, innovative approaches to worker training, and creating a more inclusive workforce.
NPower Canada’s Junior Information Technology (IT) Analyst program will provide no-cost training, direct job placement, and five years of post-hire mentorship and continued education to 3,440 young, diverse, low-income adults across the country. The FSC is investing $1.8 million over two years to help NPower Canada scale its existing programs in Ontario and Alberta, and expand to British Columbia and Nova Scotia in 2021.
A two-year healthcare worker training program, produced by The Michener Institute of Education at University Health Network and The Vector Institute, will focus on educating healthcare professionals about the potential applications of AI in the sector. The FSC is investing $1.52 million in the project, which will teach up to 5,000 healthcare workers across Canada about the “effective, appropriate, safe, and compassionate use of AI.”
University College of the North’s flexible two-year network computer technology program will train indigenous youth, particularly women, as frontline IT professionals via work-integrated learning. The FSC is investing nearly $1 million in the project, which aims to improve retention and success rates by ensuring students remain connected to their families and communities, while also helping northern businesses, industries, and communities find skilled workers.
The FSC was launched in February 2019 to fund new approaches to worker training skills development. It is set to receive $225 million in federal funding over the next four years, and $75 million thereafter.
The FSC is also currently seeking proposals for rapid skills development projects for workers affected by COVID-19. Submissions are open until September 1, and will be reviewed and accepted on a continuous intake basis.
Image source Future Skills Canada