Newcomers to Canada have higher unemployment rates on average and lower wages despite higher education levels. This program will help newcomers overcome this barrier.
TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2022 - A career platform funded through Canada's Future Skills Centre (FSC) is delivering strong outcomes, prompting its expansion across the country to help newcomers find in-demand jobs, faster. As Canada continues to increase immigration in response to COVID-19, programs like Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent (FAST) will only become more important for unlocking prosperity for new immigrants and meeting unmet workforce needs in critical sectors.
An evaluation report released today by Blueprint shows that the FAST pilot helped set newcomers up for ongoing success in fields including biotechnology, culinary arts, accounting, and IT. Developed by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC), FAST is an online skills assessment and development platform that helps newcomers access meaningful employment that matches their skills and experience. Through occupation-specific technical and soft skill assessments, training resources, and connections to credentialing and employment supports, FAST has equipped more than 2,000 participants since 2016 with the tools needed to overcome employment barriers and transition into the Canadian labour market.
The pilot evaluation found that half of participants achieved employment five months after registration and salaries were $1,500 above the Statistics Canada average for newcomers one year after entry. On the basis of this rigorous pilot evaluation, FAST has been selected as one of ten projects for FSC's Scaling Up Skills Development program, enabling more organizations to deliver FAST's proven program to newcomers across Canada.
"Innovative, rigorous evidence practices are the key to strengthening our skills development systems and preparing Canadians for success in a changing labour market. Blueprint's work with FAST shows how we all benefit from capturing the real-life outcomes of promising and innovative program ideas"
Karen Myers, President and CEO, Blueprint
Effective newcomer employment services will only become more essential as Canada continues to accelerate immigration. But too often, promising pilot programs struggle to get off the ground when expanded or replicated in a new context. Through FSC's Scaling Up Skills Development Initiative, innovative projects not only have access to the FSC technical assistance, Innovation Lab and funding they need to expand, but also to the implementation and evaluation support from Blueprint they need to grow successfully. As part of Scaling Up Skills, FAST is rolling out a new training stream for long-term care, connecting newcomers to in-demand jobs in a sector whose ongoing labour shortages have been strained by COVID-19.
"These outcomes from the FAST program underline the importance of a continued evaluation process in identifying the best practices for skills development across our economy. We are very pleased to see the success of this program through this report and look forward to expanding this model to continue tackling pressing workforce challenges for the Canadian workforce."
- Pedro Barata, Executive Director, Future Skills Centre
"Working with Blueprint as our evidence partner has provided direct insight into how FAST is experienced by newcomer users and their feedback has allowed us to make improvements that are responsive to their needs, maximizing our impact. Evidence-informed decision making on program improvements have been critical as FAST grows and expands into new industry streams."
- Patrick MacKenzie, CEO, IEC-BC
About Blueprint's FAST evidence report
About the Scaling Up Skills Initiative
Read the full press release here. For further information: Anne Matthews, Director of Communications and Knowledge Mobilization, Blueprint, Anne.firstname.lastname@example.org, 647-241-6251