Building in-demand tech talent to drive Canada’s future prosperity
Pandemic hardships are falling on many Canadian workers, increasing the need for training and employment support to secure new well-paying jobs. At the same time, accelerated technology adoption and an intensified focus on value creation, efficiency and sustainable practices is fast-tracking the use of technology across all economic sectors in Canada, including the technology, marine, construction, mining, forestry, space and healthcare industries. These disruptive shifts are driving the need for more technology talent. In B.C. alone, more than 140,000 tech-related job openings are expected by 2031.
How We Are Solving It
In response, the Digital Lift project is training and supporting a new wave of diversified tech talent to increase workforce availability and accelerate the growth and innovation of Canadian companies. This project is led by BC Tech Association in collaboration with tech talent solution providers British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Riipen Networks, SkyHive Technologies and Virtro Technologies. Corporate partners include AbCellera, Absolute Software, Amazon, Copperleaf, Change Healthcare, East Side Games, Finning, Jelly Digital Marketing, Providence Health Care, SAP and Seaspan Shipyards and Stemcell Technologies.
Over the next 3 years, this industry-led consortium seeks to combat the tech talent shortage by:
- Using AI to identify high-demand tech roles and the competencies required for the positions
- Providing 6-12 week rapid skilling programs for 120+ individuals impacted by COVID-19 that matches the in-demand tech roles and skills gaps of industry
- Offering 200 paid virtual internships with technology companies and tech-enabled corporates to help all Canadians land well-paying jobs – 150 internships will be filled by individuals from under-represented groups including women, Indigenous Peoples, members of racialized minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2+ individuals
- Simulating virtual reality and AI-informed job interviews that align with program participant’s specific careers of interest
- Creating a best practice guide for managing interns in a virtual environment
The highest return on investment for skills training happens when the skills match open roles in the workforce. The team will use artificial intelligence from SkyHive Technologies to determine real-time movements in Canada’s labour market to assess technology roles that are in highest demand and the existing skills gaps.
At the same, Virtro Technology will deliver competency-based job interview simulations for virtual reality and browser-based platforms. The project will provide all participants with 10 AI-driven practice interviews, customized for the specific roles they’re pursuing.
Many companies have stopped taking on interns, due to the complexities of managing the process and people during the pandemic. The project will create a best-practice guide for virtual internships and share those learnings across the tech industry in Canada. This knowledge will not only help during the pandemic, but also create more long-term career opportunities for people in rural and remote areas of the country.
The long-term goal is to help grow Canada’s tech sector by developing a highly skilled and productive workforce from all regions of Canada. This is what it will take to build an equitable, inclusive and greener post-pandemic economy.
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