Reskilling displaced retail workers

This project supports the design of a reskilling program for displaced retail workers, with a focus on racialized and Indigenous youth in Ontario. In the first half of 2020, 1.3 million Canadian retail jobs were lost due to the pandemic. According to the Conference Board of Canada, retail is among the top three industries at high risk of automation, with “few or no options to transition into lower-risk occupations without significant retraining.”

There is a dearth of programming for displaced retail workers. Through community-based participatory consultation and comprehensive assessments, Venture for Canada is building a ready-to-launch program to support the reskilling of retail workers in Ontario. In collaboration with multi-sector partners, the project will create a comprehensive training program that reskills displaced retail workers into tech jobs or in-demand jobs in the retail sector.

Group shot of students.

Future Skills Centre is investing $302,400 in this project over 1.5 years. This initiative designs and prototypes a holistic training program that can be easily implemented and scaled. It creates two pathways for youth displaced from the retail sector: reskilling for sales-adjacent or customer success employment at Canadian technology companies or upskilling for IT/digital ventures for Canada-focused jobs with Canadian retailers.

Stakeholders will gain critical insights on reskilling youth who face systemic entry barriers. The long-term goal is to inform methods and reskilling frameworks for industries at high risk of automatization to help workers gain skills and competencies needed to succeed in high-growth industries while fostering life-long learning. Project activities include creating a collaboration-impact framework, community-based participatory research, designing and prototyping the training curriculum and structure, and identifying risks and gaps in each of the project components.

Evaluation Strategy

This project will be evaluated using tools and approaches aligned with its goals, context, and stage of development. The evaluation will focus on generating the right evidence at the right moment to move the intervention forward. Read more about our evaluation strategy.

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