Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Makes Largest Investment Yet in Skilling Canadian Workforce

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Vancouver, British Columbia [January 28, 2021] – Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster   (‘Digital Supercluster’) is proud to announce its largest investment to date in developing in-demand digital talent through its Capacity Building Program. The Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator project is a total investment of $8.7 million, with $7.3 million invested by industry and other partners and $1.4 million of co-investment by the Government of Canada’s Innovation, Science and Industry through the Digital Supercluster. This project supports Canada’s future by providing in-demand technology skills to young Canadians underrepresented in our economy, preparing them for the digital workforce and supporting Canada’s economic recovery.

NPower Canada is collaborating with Microsoft Canada and Blueprint to launch the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator: a 15-week online skills training and job placement program that will equip 2,500 underrepresented youth (18 to 29 years old) for in-demand digital careers across Canada. This project also further supports the scaling of NPower Canada as a pan-Canadian workforce development initiative, expanding to British Columbia in mid-2021 while growing its impact in Calgary, Halifax and the Greater Toronto Area.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered Canada’s economy and labour market. The increase in the need for digital skills has widened the ‘digital divide’ and skills gap, contributing to higher unemployment – especially for more vulnerable Canadians. In response, through this project, the Digital Supercluster is making a strategic investment in re-skilling Canada’s workforce. “By partnering with industry players like Microsoft we better understand the challenges they face in identifying skilled talent as we continue to drive technology adoption across our economy. Through this project we continue to support scaling digital companies and saving and creating jobs for all Canadians” said Sue Paish, CEO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster.

“The pandemic has accelerated the world’s digital transformation creating an even greater need for people to learn new skills”, said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “We are committed to providing tools and resources to ensure those currently in the workforce, jobseekers and future leaders have the opportunity to acquire in-demand digital skills. Our collaboration with the Digital Technology Supercluster and NPower Canada will help ensure Canadians, particularly those in underserved communities, have access to these opportunities.”

This project also follows the launch of the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge, focused on increasing representation and inclusion of diverse groups in the workplace, and a $1.5 billion investment in the Workforce Development Agreements that will help Canadians in underrepresented groups quickly access supports to re-enter the workforce. “Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is taking action to foster a digital-savvy workforce through the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator. This project is designed to deliver digital job training to underrepresented communities across Canada. This innovative approach will ensure a wider range of Canadians have the necessary skills to match the demands of our growing digital economy,” says the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The project’s curriculum will adapt to employer’s skill requirements and once completed, students will earn industry certification and receive support to find a technology position.

“This program aligns with the work being done under B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to ensure that British Columbians have every opportunity to get good jobs,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, Government of British Columbia. “Connecting youth to programs that will prepare them for future work is vital. This training provides a platform for young people to gain the skills and confidence needed to participate in our digital economy.”