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Future Skills Centre boosts upskilling for new technology in key economic sectors with $14 million investment

October 13, 2021 – The Future Skills Centre (FSC) today announces seven key partnerships with employers and industry groups to support skills development and research in sectors of the economy that are either at high risk of automation or that will be key to Canada’s future success and integral to recovery. 

In line with the organization’s strategic focus to test approaches that anticipate and address labour market disruption, an investment of $14 million into these employer-led initiatives will bolster the workforce in priority sectors — by equipping workers with the skills they need to adapt to future technological changes and economic shocks, as well as reskilling and upskilling for new and emerging jobs in specific sectors and regions. 

A vital component of these projects is to ensure skills training is relevant and accessible to diverse groups including women, racialized groups, and people with essential skills gaps. Programs will focus not only on technical training but also on building social and emotional skills and resilience. 


  • AGRICULTURE: The Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council is tackling persistent and growing labour shortages by developing a national workforce strategy that outlines a vision and plan to enhance the sector’s vitality in future ($1.88 million);
  • BIO-ECONOMY: BioTalent Canada is building tools and resources, including a roadmap of practices and technologies from biotech companies that successfully pivoted during the pandemic, to prepare the industry for future unexpected shocks ($1.15 million);
  • HEALTH CARE: The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is enhancing training on specific skills related to foot care for patients with diabetes, an area of health care where job numbers are expected to grow exponentially in the years ahead ($3 million);  
  • PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is linking public service professionals to skill development opportunities to meet changing skill needs due to the increased use of automation, AI and technology ($2.5 million);
  • FISHERIES AND OCEANS: ECO Canada is supporting skills development and the growth of the “blue economy” of jobs, including ocean technology, offshore resources, shipping and marine renewables ($1 million).
  • STARTUPS AND SMEs: Dalhousie University and its partners aim to grow the pipeline of Canadian entrepreneurs and mentors by offering in-person workshops and on-demand training on resilience, performance, and an innovation mindset ($2.9 million);
  • IT/CYBERSECURITY: Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst delivers a rigorous and transformative cybersecurity training program to people traditionally underrepresented in a field currently facing a labour shortage ($1.8 million).
We’re working with businesses and sectors across the country to address the need for new and different skills, since we know that skills must be at the centre of any solution to transform the workforce. We must also ensure that our efforts to advance an economic recovery are inclusive and tailored to the needs of vulnerable populations, who will increasingly face disruption and require support. Investing in tools and resources to upskill and reskill all of these parts of the workforce will be a ‘win-win-win’ for business, workers and equity.
– Pedro Barata, Executive Director, Future Skills Centre


  • These projects add to a growing portfolio of initiatives in 20+ sectors, including the hard hit tourism and hospitality industry. 
  • To date, FSC has invested $153.7 million in over 140 projects across the country. The centre recently announced support for 65 projects to help shock-proof the workforce.

About the Future Skills Centre

The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead. The Future Skills Centre was founded by a consortium whose members are Ryerson University, Blueprint, and The Conference Board of Canada, and is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program


Media Contact

Eglantine Ronfard
Communications Manager
Future Skills Centre