The Tech Bootcamps: Building a community of engaged tech employers.

Tech employers have historically been at the forefront of inclusive hiring, but major challenges still exist in the sector for effective newcomer labour market attachment. Newcomers are at an especially high disadvantage during periods of economic uncertainty and when being considered for senior talent and leadership roles. Too often, immigrants are viewed as a hiring risk rather than a unique value-add. Immigrants bring international experience and the resiliency they demonstrated when they chose to move across the world and restart their careers in Canada.

This initiative responds to this by including employers at the beginning of the design process of the Tech Bootcamps. In doing so, we have created a space for employers to not only address the concerns they may be facing with accessing and assessing newcomer talent, but also challenge their own pre-conceived notions and biases. We are therefore working to not just bring the newcomer closer to the employer’s standards, but to help bring the employer closer to the newcomer.

Our project advisory group includes individuals from tech firms large and small that have experience in senior leadership; technical management; human resources; talent acquisition; and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We have purposely gathered a diversity of voices to ensure that the Tech Bootcamps address challenges at all stages of employment.

Creating new solutions to assess and develop soft skills.

The Tech Bootcamps are an innovative approach to address a specific combination of issues: newcomer challenges in finding work in the tech sector due to a perceived lack of soft skills.

While there are many programs and initiatives available to immigrants that address one or two of these challenges, very few if any address all three at once.

The significance of this has already been seen in the project. For example, the solutions proposed by our employer partners have uniquely reflected the challenges they see in the sector – but also reflected the challenges our newcomer focus groups identified. Newcomers were of one voice: they want to be given a chance.

Consequently, the Tech Bootcamps prioritize employer-immigrant talent interactions and practical exposure over thought experiments. Our Bootcamp prototype working group has taken this message and has crafted Bootcamp activities that put employers and immigrant talent in equitable spaces to learn from one another.

Deconstructing harmful myths about newcomers in tech.

Existing employment readiness programs focus almost solely on a perceived deficit of soft skills among newcomers. However, the Tech Bootcamps aims to not only help newcomers adapt and upgrade their soft skills, but also aid employers in deconstructing harmful myths about immigrants in tech and as a result more effectively utilize their unique skillsets.

Involvement in the development of the Tech Bootcamps has already proven to be an invaluable exercise in doing this work in an engaging way. For example, employer partners who have been interviewed about the project have articulated the need for DEI to be built into a company’s foundation and about valuing the drive that newcomers bring to their new employers.

However, IEC-BC is taking this further. After completing the Bootcamps in May 2023, we will use our findings to build out employer learning courses, resources, and tools which will bring the insights and best practices our employer partners discovered to the tech sector at large. This will also include micro-credential courses.

Further, IEC-BC will also leverage findings at employer knowledge exchange spaces. These spaces will include workshops and other engaging and dynamic mechanisms to encourage employer-to-employer knowledge sharing about best practices and how to prepare their teams to successfully engage newcomers in interviews and after being hired. Our hope in facilitating these spaces is to encourage organic systemic change and lasting improvements in the ways in which employers and immigrants engage for meaningful employment.

How can your company get involved?

Holding bootcamps is not enough to make meaningful change in the tech sector. That’s why IEC-BC will be co-hosting knowledge exchange spaces with leading tech employers to help you and your teammates learn from other companies and one another about how to hire and retain tech-skilled talent.

Register here to join upcoming knowledge exchange sessions.

For any questions about the Tech Bootcamps, please contact Ryan Carter, Project Lead, at