Image Credit: Digital Supercluster
Image Credit: Digital Supercluster

Digital Supercluster creates pathways to digital jobs for Canadians

Developing fast, low-cost training and job placement programs that support high-demand technology roles for a stronger Canadian economy

May 19, 2022 –The demand for tech talent is increasing exponentially. Technology adoption is being fast-tracked across every major industry in Canada. In B.C., more than one million job openings are forecasted over the next ten years. The Digital Supercluster is addressing this and building opportunities for a growing number of Canadians to be ready for the digital jobs of today and tomorrow.

Working with industry partners and community leaders, the Digital Supercluster is announcing two programs that will build pathways to fast, affordable training and job placement for Canadians.

Digital Lift

Digital Lift is an industry-led program that offers rapid skilling for high-demand tech positions and internship learning opportunities across Canada’s major industries, including the technology, marine, construction, mining, forestry, aerospace and healthcare industries. By increasing workforce availability and accelerating the growth and innovation of Canadian companies, Digital Lift is helping to build an equitable, inclusive, and greener post-pandemic economy. Digital Lift is led by the BC Tech Association, in partnership with BCIT, Riipen Networks, SkyHive Technologies, Virtro Technologies, AbCellera, Absolute Software, Amazon, Copperleaf, Change Healthcare, East Side Games, Finning, Jelly Digital Marketing, Providence Health Care, SAP, Seaspan Shipyards and Stemcell Technologies. The program is training 120 individuals impacted by COVID-19 and offering 200 individuals paid internships with a corporate technology partner. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality technology are being used to simulate job interviews and determine real-time movements in Canada’s labour market to assess technology roles that are in highest demand and the existing skills gaps.

“BC Tech was inspired to launch the Digital Lift program because today every part of B.C.’s economy is tech-enabled and we need many more tech savvy workers to realize B.C.’s tech potential. We were thrilled to be joined by 16 BC Tech members who are investing in the future of B.C.’s tech economy as partners in Digital Lift, and we continue to attract new partners every month,” shared Jill Tipping, CEO of BC Tech. “Together we are determined to build a more diverse and inclusive tech sector by bringing more talent from under-represented groups into our industry. We know that our ambitions for B.C.’s tech economy can be reached, with the right level of investment into critical talent and accelerator programs.”

Since starting in March of 2021, the Digital Lift program has delivered over 200 software development courses in Java, Python, Scratch, web and app development to more than 70 neurodiverse students across the province including Kitimat, Terrace, Prince Rupert and Courtenay. To date, over 50 interns have been successfully placed in technology companies. A 15-week intensive AWS cloud developer bootcamp was also launched to 22 students in January 2022. And in addition, 35 Indigenous individuals have been provided scholarships to complete a Digital Marketing certification in Spring 2022.

Upskilling Imperative

The Upskilling Imperative project is supporting 250 mid-career professionals with the digital skills, mentorship, and lifelong learning they need to meet evolving job requirements. Led by tech education leader Lighthouse Labs in collaboration with Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the program is piloting a digital upskilling and post-program support platform called Rudder with small businesses across B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario.

“The Upskilling Imperative will provide employers and working professionals with every tool and understanding they need to successfully navigate changing technologies in the workforce,” said Jeremy Shaki, CEO of Lighthouse Labs. “Digital acceleration seen across all industries has changed the future of work, and the need for digital skills has never been greater. This opens up massive opportunities for workers with digital skills and we’re looking forward to seeing the success of these participants.”

With the Rudder platform, small business employers can conduct customized training programs while overcoming challenges such as limited access to mentorship after a training program, a lack of resources to train employees and budget constraints.

“We are committed to building a better Canada – and that includes providing opportunities for Canadians to be ‘job-ready’ for work opportunities today and into the future.  These programs create pathways for Canadians to get the skilling they need to participate in the rapidly evolving digital world”, said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Cluster.

With a talent and capacity investment portfolio topping $40 Million, the Digital Supercluster is driving over 6500 learning and development placements across Canada. Programs such as Digital Lift and Upskilling Initiative are creating equitable new pathways to digital jobs for over 4500 Canadians. By driving industry-led training that is both fast and affordable, we are building a scalable system that rapidly skills Canadians and fills the high-demand technology positions needed to grow the economy and drive innovation.

“Our government is committed to building a stronger, more resilient and more inclusive Canada for everyone. That’s why it is important to ensure that under-represented groups have equal access to opportunities. These two projects will get us closer to ensuring all Canadians have the skills needed for the jobs of the future,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

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