Digital Supercluster Investing in World-Class Digital Leadership

Training and mentorship for Canadians to ensure a safe and equitable digital transformation 

May 4, 2022 [Vancouver, BC] – The Digital Supercluster is pleased to announce investments in two new Leadership Training programs, Athena Digital Leaders and Asia Competence for Tech Professionals.   

“To maintain Canada’s position as a global leader in digital transformation, our government is ensuring that Canadian workers have the skills to drive innovation,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “We are supporting the Athena Digital Leaders and Asia Competence for Tech Professionals programs to train and develop innovation leaders to excel in the digital workforce of the future.”

With more than one million job openings forecasted over the next ten years by the Province of British Columbia, the Athena Digital Leaders and Asia Competence for Tech Professionals programs will help the Canadian workforce build transferable skills for growing economic sectors. Here is how they are training innovation leaders: 

Athena Digital Leaders

Building on the success of the Athena Pathways pilot, the Athena Digital Leaders project seeks to increase technology adoption and foster more diverse technology leadership in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data science (DS).

Led by AInBC, in collaboration with Finn AI, KPMG, Northeastern University – Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, the Immigrant Employment Council of BC, the University of British Columbia (UBC), Variational AI and the Vancouver Economic Commission, the project has created two responsive and flexible training programs to seed diversity in AI talent and leadership teams. Since launching the program in July 2021, 22 self-identifying women or new immigrants have been accepted into the training program and 15 industry organizations have also partnered to hire students for work-integrated learning placements. 

“There is a huge opportunity for artificial intelligence and machine learning to be leveraged across sectors, such as natural resources, retail and manufacturing,” said Steve Lowry, Executive Director of AInBC. “In order to maximize this opportunity, the challenge is two-fold: increase the industry demand for AI/ML skills and create a supply of diverse talent in these fields.” 

Asia Competence for Tech Professionals 

The Canada-Asia Pacific relationship provides a huge opportunity for trade and investment. Led by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in partnership with Canfor, Teck and Mosaic Forest Management, this pilot program will train 100 technology professionals to gain the skills needed to help Canadian companies increase exports and collaborate at a global level on green innovation and sustainability.

“The Asia Pacific region is the centre of the world’s technology future, and represents a compelling opportunity for Canadian industry, in particular our natural resources sector. This program will prepare industry leaders to be global leaders, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to engage – strategically, technically, and sensitively – across the Asia Pacific,” said Jeff Nankivell, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

“Our government knows that supporting diversity is more than just the right thing to do; it brings more talent to the table, which strengthens our economy. These programs will create great new opportunities for women in the Artificial Intelligence field, and economic collaboration and development for our businesses in the dynamic growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development.

“Athena Digital Leaders recognizes Canada’s opportunity to drive economic prosperity by leveraging our capabilities in AI and ML to create good, clean jobs in natural resources and other key sectors,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Supercluster. “Strong and meaningful trade relationships with Asia are central to building Canada’s prosperity. Making sure that Canadian leaders are ready to engage with prospective partners, customers, and others in Asia is key to building those relationships.“

Athena Digital Leaders and Asia Competence for Tech Professionals are two projects within our Leading Digital Change pillar, one of our three key areas of focus for talent and workforce development. Other programs in this pillar supported by the Digital Technology Supercluster include the feasibility study, Intrapreneurial Development Enrichment and Action (IDEA) Lab. Through completion of the feasibility study, Evolve Strategies Corp has designed a novel framework to help fuel upcoming business innovation and growth within B.C.’s SME’s, providing a catalyst for broader economic growth across the region. 

More information on talent and capacity programs supported by the Digital Technology Supercluster can be found here.

About Digital Supercluster

Ahead of the curve starts here. The Digital Supercluster is building a better Canada by growing Canadian businesses, creating a digitally skilled workforce and positively impacting lives across our country. We accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies that keep Canadians healthy, address climate change and drive economic productivity. Through a powerful combination of co-investment, cross-sector collaboration, IP creation and digital talent development, we unlock the potential of Canadians to lead and succeed in the digital world. For more information, visit:

Media Contact: 

Elysa Darling

Director, Government & Public Affairs

Digital Supercluster


Phone: 587-890-9833