Canada’s innovation economy faces a dual challenge. Firms that want to innovate and grow often struggle to find workers with the right skills and knowledge, while many workers have difficulty finding and participating in education and training initiatives that would help them develop the skills and knowledge they need. Some firms address the challenge by working with training institutions to reskill their current workforce or develop programs to ensure that new hires have relevant skills and knowledge. Yet, too few pursue this strategy. The result is missed opportunities and foregone growth in the innovation economy.
This report and accompanying case studies share insights from three skills for innovation training initiatives which can inform the design and operation of models in Canada. As this briefing and the case studies reveal, well-designed and operated skills for innovation initiatives can improve the skills and well-being of workers and the strength and growth of dynamic regional economic sectors.
The case studies reveal that well-designed initiatives can improve the skills and well-being of workers and the strength and growth of dynamic regional economic sectors if they:
focus on sector- and regionally-relevant opportunities;
conduct robust economic trend analysis focused on innovation and growth opportunities
develop and draw on strong relationships among employers, training institutions, government agencies and not-for-profit agencies;
establish a well-resourced intermediary organization that leads and manages the initiative and coordinates stakeholders; and
provide substantial resources and wrap-around support for trainees to complete training while managing other aspects of their lives, including housing, childcare, transportation, and forgone income while in training.