Upskilling Canadian youth for in-demand tech careers

This initiative provides professional and technical skills training, direct job placement, and five years of post-hire services, including mentorship and continuing education for career advancement. This is delivered at no cost to participants, many of whom come from low-income, diverse backgrounds. 

Diverse youth working on their laptops

Future Skills Canada (FSC) announced in May 2021 that it is investing an additional $2.77 million to support 4,395 youths aged 18 to 29. This follows an investment of  $1.8 million that was first announced in June 2020 with funding for 3,440 young adults. This additional funding will allow NPower Canada to greatly expand  its workforce development program. The program has been offered in Toronto, Calgary and Halifax and will expand to Vancouver as of September 2021.  

In this second phase, more young people will enroll in the workforce development programs through a hybrid model, combining virtual program delivery with in-person wraparound supports, in keeping with local public health measures. This accessible and agile model will be expanded to bring virtual skills training and remote work opportunities to Indigenous, francophone and northern communities and to small and mid-sized cities and larger metropolitan hubs such as Ottawa-Gatineau and Montreal. 

The expansion builds on the early success of the program. At the end of the first year, NPower Canada’s participants achieved robust job placement outcomes. Statistics show that 85% of the first cohort of graduates secured employment or enrolled in higher education within 11 months. Similarly, 85% of the second cohort did so within seven months, and 68% of third cohort of December 2020 graduates have done the same within four months. 

In March 2020, NPower shifted its programs from in-person sessions to virtual, fully online offerings. It also enhanced counselling and community service referrals to address the challenges youth faced in the pandemic related to physical isolation, reduced access to services, food insecurity and other challenges. The program has delivered more coaching and counselling in small online groups in order to provide peer support. Positive feedback was immediate, with youth praising the opportunity to connect with peers who could relate directly to their challenges and propose realistic solutions. Youth who joined two or more peer group sessions have shown higher attendance and participation in online training than those who did not join these group sessions. 

All webinars and labs are being recorded so that participants with childcare responsibilities or challenging home circumstances can review and complete lessons at times convenient to their schedules. 

NPower Canada has partnered with and consulted more than 200 employers to understand their IT hiring needs and designs its programs to equip low-income young adults with these in-demand skills. This deep engagement of employers throughout the program, from curriculum design and training delivery to hiring and alumni supports, has proven vital to NPower Canada’s success in helping youth facing barriers to secure and retain employment.

Summary line: This program is directed at vulnerable, unemployed youth, training them for careers in information technology (IT) that have strong growth prospects. 

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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