Future Skills Centre Launches Six Innovation Projects and Call for Proposals

The Future Skills Centre is funding projects across the country that are testing innovative approaches to skills development, helping thousands of Canadians prepare for the future of work

Toronto, April 2, 2019 – The working lives of many Canadians will be changed as existing jobs are displaced and new jobs are created with different skills demands. The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF) is announcing six projects to test innovative approaches for helping diverse Canadians gain the skills they need to adapt and succeed in the workforce. An estimated 5,000 Canadians from coast to coast to coast will engage with these projects to test solutions to skills development challenges. Working with Indigenous and Northern communities, newcomers to Canada, and young job-seekers, these projects are experimenting with innovative and inclusive approaches to digital skills training, competency assessment models, career pathways, and employability skills development.

The Centre is also pleased to launch today a call for proposals to develop, test, and measure innovative approaches to supporting mid-career workers who have been displaced by changes in the labour market, are at risk of being replaced, or who will face new job requirements in the future. This theme was identified to address gaps in skills training for mid-career workers. With a total budget of $4M over the next two years, selected projects from this call will generate actionable evidence about how to better meet the needs of mid-career workers facing challenges in the labour market.

“We’re very excited to announce the Future Skills Centre’s inaugural, community-based innovation projects and a call for proposals,” said Melanie Wright, Interim Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “We’re hitting the ground running only six weeks after our official launch, investing in skills development research which will involve thousands of Canadians.”

“On behalf of our partners and Interim Advisory Board, we are thrilled to be launching these innovation projects and call for proposals, which will engage thousands of workers in gaining access to new skills, and will contribute to a growing evidence base on the skills needed to thrive in the new economy,” said Steven N. Liss, Vice-President of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University and Acting Chair of the FSC-CCF Interim Advisory Board.

“The world of work is changing and Canadians need to be equipped to seize the opportunities this presents. Future Skills is part of the Government’s plan to build an agile workforce that can help Canadians find and keep good, well-paying jobs, and strengthen the middle class, so that everyone has a fair chance at success. These six projects are an important step toward achieving this vision,” says the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

Visit the Future Skills Centre website for the full details about the call for proposals, including application guidelines and information.

The Centre will be launching a broader open call for proposals in late spring 2019.

BACKGROUND: Six Innovation Projects

FSC-CCF has committed $11.58M in funding over two years for the six projects. Below is an overview of the projects. For full details on the six projects, as well as the selection and adjudication process, please visit the Future Skills Centre website.

  1. “Indigenous ICT Development Centre” with FireSpirit and ID Fusion Software Though demand for talent is high, Indigenous people are extremely underrepresented in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. The Indigenous ICT Development Centre will work with Indigenous youth and underemployed people and to develop approaches for paid training and work experience, job coaching, and mentorship, within their home communities in Winnipeg and The Pas, Manitoba.

  2. “Facilitating Access to Skills Talent (FAST)” with Immigration Employment Council of British Columbia (IECBC)
    FAST is an online skills assessment and development platform to help newcomers overcome employment barriers such as international credential recognition and a lack of Canadian work experience. This project will test FAST’s model with expanded occupation streams in skilled trades, biotechnology, life sciences, accounting, tourism, and hospitality in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

  3. “Defining Digital Competencies” with Information Technology Association Canada (ITAC)
    This project works with ITAC employer members to define a set of in-demand digital competencies for the next three years. Using this knowledge, curriculum will be developed and tested for alternative pathways into digital roles for graduates with non-STEM backgrounds, as well as internationally-educated professionals and high potential workers without traditional credentials. This program will target 370 job-seekers and employers in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia.

  4. “For-Credit InSTEM Program” with Actua Developed in partnership with Indigenous community leaders, local school boards, Elders, and industry partners, this project will test how a locally and culturally-relevant approach to building digital literacy can break down workforce barriers for Indigenous and Northern youth. With the aim of looking at ways to prepare youth for the digital and STEM-based workforce, the project will engage youth in their home communities in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and northern Alberta.

  5. “Bridging Competencies in a Technology-supported Youth Employment Pathway” with OTECMaRS Discovery District, and First Work Integrating technologies from OTEC and MaRS, the program will first identify occupations that fit with a youth job-seeker’s interests and then identify the required skills to be successful in those roles. In partnership with First Work, other youth employment services organizations, employment counsellors, and employers, this project aims to support 2,000 youth in four provinces across Canada in their skills training paths.

  6. “Future Skills Innovation Network for Universities” with FUSION
    FUSION is a national network of universities, consisting of Concordia University, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Carleton University, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. This project will address three major challenges to building inclusive forms of skill development: greater integration of future skills in formal and informal teaching; increased access to and success within post-secondary education for underrepresented students; and, more flexible learning formats to better facilitate skill acquisition.

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF) is a forward-thinking research centre with a focus on how to best prepare Canadians today for workforce opportunities of the future. The Centre will test and rigorously measure innovative approaches to identify emerging in-demand skills and help Canadians develop the skills they need to take full advantage of and succeed in the new economy. FSC-CCF is a partnership between Ryerson University, Conference Board of Canada, and Blueprint. For more information, visit fsc-ccf.ca.



Melanie Wright
Interim Executive Director – Directrice générale par intérim
Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures is funded by theGovernment of Canada’s Future Skills Program.