Exploring approaches to build awareness and capacity in the information and communications technology sector for Indigenous youth and underemployed communities
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is one of the fastest growing industries in Canada. Though demand for talent is high, Indigenous people are extremely underrepresented in ICT occupations.
The Future Skills Centre will invest $670K in a 16-month project led by FireSpirit and ID Fusion, which will assess the value of an Indigenous ICT Development Centre in providing ICT services and training to local communities.
The Indigenous ICT Development Centre will work with Indigenous youth and underemployed people and test approaches to meaningful training and paid work experience, job coaching, and mentorship while in their home communities. In collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous employers, this project assesses the matching of ICT professionals with businesses looking for ICT support services.
This project is uniquely driven by two Indigenous private sector organizations to create a framework to allow Indigenous ICT professionals to train, collaborate, and market their services individually and collectively. The project involves 40 participants, in the communities surrounding Winnipeg and The Pas, Manitoba.
Our evaluation of the Indigenous ICT Development Centre is classified as an Effectiveness Evaluation, focused on understanding to what extent the pilot produces intended outcomes, and the individual and implementation factors that support success. The results of this evaluation will be used to move the Indigenous ICT Development Centre model along the Future Skills Centre’s evidence pipeline, by building evidence of the model’s effectiveness to inform future evaluation and scaling decisions. Findings will also be linked to a broader learning agenda to ensure that we can leverage learnings to inform future innovations in the areas of ICT sector training and supporting Indigenous jobseekers, and to advance the Future Skills Centre’s mandate of mobilizing evidence to inform practice, programs, and policies.
To understand the degree to which the pilot produces intended outcomes, and the individual success factors associated with those outcomes, this evaluation will measure the full set of participant outcomes outlined in the Future Skills Centre’s Shared Outcomes Framework, including skills gains, enrollment in further education, and long-term employment outcomes.
To identify the implementation factors associated with success and support continuous improvement, the evaluation will gather reflections from participant, employer, and community stakeholders to assess the strengths and gaps of the model in meeting the needs of jobseekers and employers, and potential areas for improvement.
Finally, pilot-specific outcomes including participant participation and satisfaction with different program components and wraparound supports, participant interest in the ICT sector, and employer metrics on productivity of graduates will be measured to build a better understanding of the value of unique components of the Indigenous ICT Development Centre model.
Through the next two years of pilot delivery, we will carry out the evaluation through:
- Participant surveys and collecting pilot delivery data measuring socio-demographic characteristics of participants, as well as their ICT skill development, program stream and completion, and employment outcomes.
- Interviews with participants to build an in-depth understanding of participant experiences in the program, including challenges faced and key success factors, as well as interviews with delivery staff and community stakeholders.
- ICT employer interviews to capture employer perceptions of the model’s strengths and opportunities for improvement, and their assessment of its impact on helping meet their hiring needs.
- Interim reporting communicating early outcomes achieved, implementation findings, and recommendations to support continuous learning and performance improvement by delivery partners.
- Analysis of participant, employer, and stakeholder data to communicate key findings regarding pilot effectiveness and implementation in a final report.
Results of the Indigenous ICT Development Centre evaluation are expected to be published Fall 2020.