Skills For Hire program receives $2.5 million to address ICT skills gap in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESCD) is funding a program to address the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector’s skills gap in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Called Skills For Hire, the program will create short-term training for recent graduates, incumbent workers, and underemployed and unemployed individuals who have transferable skills and knowledge that could apply to the ICT sector.

“The fusion of different outlooks and skills fuel innovation — which is exactly what our industry thrives on. This project aims to make industry and those outside of our industry aware of the opportunities available — as one of the fastest growing industries globally, our need for talent will only grow,” said Caitlin Patterson, Director of Marketing and Communications at Digital Nova Scotia in an email to RE$EARCH MONEY.

Skills For Hire received $2.5 million in funding over three years through ESDC’s Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program. It is jointly led by Digital Nova Scotia, an industry organization, and St. John’s, Newfoundland-based Bluedrop Performance Learning. Bluedrop develops workplace e-learning and simulation programs and assists large organizations in delivering, tracking and managing training.

Demand for ICT professionals is steadily growing in Canada as digital disruption continues to reshape industries, including banking, media, transportation, education, health and oceans. The Information and Communications Technology Council forecasts that more than 200,000 new jobs will need to be filled by 2021 as Canada’s digital economy continues to grow. That demand is being driven by five transformational technologies: virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), fifth generation (5G) mobile technology, three-dimensional (3D) printing, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

Skills For Hire is designed to offer online and offline training opportunities to individuals transitioning into the ICT sector, including recent graduates who often struggle to enter the workplace after post-secondary studies. In developing the program, Digital Nova Scotia and Bluedrop worked with leaders from post-secondary institutions in Atlantic Canada to ensure Skills For Hire complements existing educational programs.

“In Nova Scotia, we are fortunate to have a magnitude of innovative and forward-thinking post-secondary institutions. This program is designed to complement their commendable efforts and support the skills gap, while allowing participants to build sustainable, life-changing and rewarding careers here at home,” said Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, President & CEO, Digital Nova Scotia in a press release.