The federal government is providing Technation with $60 million to support the association’s Career Ready Program. Launched in 2017, the Career Ready Program pairs post-secondary students with Canadian businesses.
Technation, the national group representing members of the ICT industry, has previously received $70 million from the Canadian government to expand the program’s reach: $87 million in program support during the pandemic, and an initial grant of $15.5 million in 2017 for a total of more than $230 million in overall funding.
“It’s imperative that Canada creates more inclusive paths to well-paying jobs in tech.”
– Angela Mondou, Technation
The Career Ready Program provides 50 percent (to a maximum of $5,000) of a student’s pay in wage subsidies to employers; this subsidy is increased to 70 percent (to a maximum of $7,000) for employers hiring students from underrepresented groups.
The subsidy can also be stacked with provincial subsidies. In British Columbia, Ontario or Nova Scotia, there’s a good chance employers can get 100 percent of a co-op student’s salary covered. BC provides funding from Innovate BC, New Ventures, and the BC Arts Council, while students from Ontario can access the Co-op Tax Credit or the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Nova Scotia funding through Co-op Education, Energy Training, and Skill.
Tech companies are not the only ones eligible for the funding, and students don’t have to work in traditional tech roles like IT, cybersecurity, and software engineering. A variety of roles which have been digitized such as marketing, finance, project management, and many other interdisciplinary or hybrid jobs can take advantage of the program.
Technation claims it has provided over $100 million to Canadian businesses and nonprofits across Canada through the Career Ready Program to date, and that more than 20,000 students and over 7,000 employer partners have benefitted from student work terms. Almost one-third of these organizations have used the Career Ready Program more than once, according to the association.
Technation claims that 99.5 percent of all Career Ready Program funding applications are accepted, and within just 10 days. Ninety-one percent of participating employers confirmed their students were qualified for an entry level position at their company after their work placement, the association said.
“It’s imperative that Canada creates more inclusive paths to well-paying jobs in tech,” said Technation’s president and CEO, Angela Mondou. “Our Career Ready Program facilitates change by connecting talent to opportunity, addressing the skills, learning and credentials required for the jobs of today and the future, and investing in skilling initiatives that help Canadian businesses and academia to work together.”
Mondou said that today’s students, new entrants in the workforce, and current job seekers are Canada’s future tech leaders, and she pointed out that many are found in underrepresented groups, including women, racialized people, persons with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples.
Technation’s program takes on added importance at a time when companies are struggling to retain talent. The Innovation Economy Council (IEC) reports that more than a quarter of respondents to a 2021 survey from the global staffing firm Robert Half said they would be looking for a new position in the first half of 2022. That’s a six percent increase since the middle of the year. Fifty-nine percent of respondents were looking for a salary increase.
This comes as major international companies are plucking up Canadian tech talent, and offering sizeable salaries. Meta is one such company, having recently promised to hire up to 2,500 employees across Canada over the next five years as part of a new Canadian engineering hub.
Beyond offering the Career Ready Program, Technation provides advocacy, professional development, and networking opportunities.. As well, Technation has carried out trade missions to foreign countries for entrepreneurs, and provides a number of briefing events to various sectors.
Following the 2022 federal budget, Technation commended the government’s announcement that it would commit $875.2 million over five years to address cyber threats. However the association added that the Government of Canada needs to improve its collaboration with the country’s tech sector and better mobilize the SMB companies it has operating in the cybersecurity space.
The association warned in 2021 that Canada is losing the global war for technology talent. In a new document titled Roadmap for Sustained Growth in Canada’s Tech Sector sent to the leaders of the major federal political parties, Technation said that the “ability for Canadian businesses to fill available jobs continues to be a major challenge in a ‘borderless’ competitive global economy.”
Ahead of the 2021 federal budget, Technation echoed other associations in calling for improved procurement for domestic companies.
The group’s lobbying efforts paid off in March 2022 when the federal government’s Shared Services Canada announced it was launching a new, simplified approach to IT procurement to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to compete for Government of Canada contracts. Known as the Agile Procurement Process 3.0, the process was developed in collaboration with Technation. Shared Services Canada is responsible for delivering digital services to the Government of Canada.
Technation also advocates on behalf of women, internationally educated professionals, Indigenous people, and persons with disabilities. The association runs a women in leadership program and works to encourage the inclusion of more women on corporate boards.
The association is a partner with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on the Discover Ability Network initiative, a social initiative that aims to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in Ontario’s workplaces. The partnership also supports businesses in developing their workforce across the province while maintaining their responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
“Our government is making sure that young Canadians have the training and tools they need to succeed in the job market,” said Marci Ien, the federal minister for women and gender equity, and youth. “The work placements created by Technation through the Career Ready Program will help thousands of students grow professionally. By developing their technical skills, students are laying the foundation for successful careers now and into the future.”
By providing thousands of students with training, Technation may well be helping solve the tech talent crunch, if not now, at least in the foreseeable future.
Feature image source Unsplash.