Scaling to Meet the Needs of Canadians

Creating a robust evidence approach to scale promising skills development interventions

The landscape for Canadian workers and employers is unlike anything we’ve seen before. From demographic shifts to automation, far too many workers are feeling the impacts of changing labour markets, with some facing the acute threats of precarity, low job quality and limited advancement opportunities. On the demand side, employers report growing gaps between the skills they need and the skills available.

Thankfully, there are countless inspiring organizations across the country rising to the moment with new ideas for training interventions to close the gap. Unfortunately, too many of their programs get stalled at the pilot stage, unable to make the jump to operating at scale. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “stagnation chasm”—the space where good ideas get stuck before they have a chance to maximize their impact. More attention must be paid to helping organizations grow the impact of their most promising interventions, lifting them out of the stagnation chasm to move them toward meeting demand at scale across Canada.

In order to address Canada’s labour market challenges, Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre have partnered on the Scaling Up Skills Development Portfolio to help our most promising solutions reach communities across Canada. The ten interventions in this portfolio—outlined below—focus on a range of skills development and labour market needs. While each of the partners are at different stages in their scaling journey, they are all innovative, forward-thinking groups committed to meeting the future skills needs of Canadians by leveraging deep subject matter knowledge to offer exciting and creative interventions.

Partners and Programs

Advancing Digital and Professional Training (ADaPT)– Diversity Institute and TECHNATION

ADaPT helps graduates in arts, social sciences and humanities transition to the workforce by providing technology, literacy and professional skills workshops and skills bootcamps. It is designed and delivered by the Diversity Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in partnership with TECHNATION, a national technology industry association that represents Canadian technology companies.

AspireAtlantic – Pier Labs

AspireAtlantic bridges the gap between the needs of employers and workers seeking to move from unemployment or low-wage jobs into middle-skilled jobs with advancement opportunities in manufacturing and construction in Nova Scotia. Following a pre-screening, participants take part in career readiness training and occupational skills training for middle skills roles and are then provided with job search supports.  

Dual-Client Workforce Development Model – NPower Canada

This program creates pathways to economic prosperity for equity-deserving groups in Canada by launching them into meaningful and sustainable digital careers. The program provides free technical and professional skills training and connects participants with some of Canada’s largest employers in the technology sector.  

Energy to Digital Growth Education & Upskilling Project (EDGE UP) – Calgary Economic Development (CED)

EDGE UP aims to re-skill displaced mid-career oil and gas professionals and help them become re-employed in areas of the technology sector where there are large overlaps between their existing skills and those required. CED is a not-for-profit corporation that works with business, government and community partners to attract business investment, foster trade and grow Calgary’s workforce.

Employability Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT) – Futureworx

ESAT is designed and administered by Futureworx. It  helps trainers and counsellors assess and support the development of their clients’ social and emotional skills. ESAT helps jobseekers understand the expectations of employers and helps them build their skills in a way that aligns with those expectations.

Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent (FAST) – Immigrant Employment Council of BC

FAST is an online skills assessment and development platform that helps newcomers close skills and accreditation gaps. The program accelerates newcomer integration by proactively working with newcomers before, or soon after, their arrival. Read the interim report here.

In Motion & Momentum+ (IM&M+) – Canadian Career Development Foundation

IM&M+ is an action-oriented learning program that supports individuals with pre-employment needs to build foundational skills and identify their strengths and accomplishments as sources of motivation, hope and pride.

Lift/Futur en tête – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Lift/Futur en tête helps youth with mental health needs participate and thrive in a changing economy. It was adapted from the Integrated Placement and Support (IPS) model, that plots a unique path by adopting a “place-then-train” approach instead of focusing on pre-employment training like traditional supported employment.

Material Handling 4.0 (MH 4.0) – Mohawk College

MH 4.0 helps jobseekers gain skills and micro-credentials needed to launch an entry-level career in the supply chain sector. MH 4.0 is a new program designed by Mohawk College’s City School in response to the fourth industrial revolution (“Industry 4.0”), in which the evolution of disruptive technologies is creating barriers to success for those not participating fully in Canada’s labour force.

Reboot Plus Expansion- Douglas College

This program re-engages youth at risk of not graduating from high school and supports them with exploring a career path they are interested in through training, networking and career exploration. It also aims to address current labour market shortages by increasing employers’ willingness to see the potential of youth with barriers and embrace strategies to support them.

The landscape for Canadian workers and employers is unlike anything we’ve seen before. From demographic shifts to automation, far too many workers are feeling the impacts of changing labour markets, with some facing the acute threats of precarity, low job quality and limited advancement opportunities. On the demand side, employers report growing gaps between the skills they need and the skills available.

Thankfully, there are countless inspiring organizations across the country rising to the moment with new ideas for training interventions to close the gap. Unfortunately, too many of their programs get stalled at the pilot stage, unable to make the jump to operating at scale. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “stagnation chasm”—the space where good ideas get stuck before they have a chance to maximize their impact. More attention must be paid to helping organizations grow the impact of their most promising interventions, lifting them out of the stagnation chasm to move them toward meeting demand at scale across Canada.

In order to address Canada’s labour market challenges, Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre have partnered on the Scaling Up Skills Development Portfolio to help our most promising solutions reach communities across Canada. The ten interventions in this portfolio—outlined below—focus on a range of skills development and labour market needs. While each of the partners are at different stages in their scaling journey, they are all innovative, forward-thinking groups committed to meeting the future skills needs of Canadians by leveraging deep subject matter knowledge to offer exciting and creative interventions.

Partners and Programs

Advancing Digital and Professional Training (ADaPT)– Diversity Institute and TECHNATION

ADaPT helps graduates in arts, social sciences and humanities transition to the workforce by providing technology, literacy and professional skills workshops and skills bootcamps. It is designed and delivered by the Diversity Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in partnership with TECHNATION, a national technology industry association that represents Canadian technology companies.

AspireAtlantic – Pier Labs

AspireAtlantic bridges the gap between the needs of employers and workers seeking to move from unemployment or low-wage jobs into middle-skilled jobs with advancement opportunities in manufacturing and construction in Nova Scotia. Following a pre-screening, participants take part in career readiness training and occupational skills training for middle skills roles and are then provided with job search supports.  

Dual-Client Workforce Development Model – NPower Canada

This program creates pathways to economic prosperity for equity-deserving groups in Canada by launching them into meaningful and sustainable digital careers. The program provides free technical and professional skills training and connects participants with some of Canada’s largest employers in the technology sector.  

Energy to Digital Growth Education & Upskilling Project (EDGE UP) – Calgary Economic Development (CED)

EDGE UP aims to re-skill displaced mid-career oil and gas professionals and help them become re-employed in areas of the technology sector where there are large overlaps between their existing skills and those required. CED is a not-for-profit corporation that works with business, government and community partners to attract business investment, foster trade and grow Calgary’s workforce.

Employability Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT) – Futureworx

ESAT is designed and administered by Futureworx. It  helps trainers and counsellors assess and support the development of their clients’ social and emotional skills. ESAT helps jobseekers understand the expectations of employers and helps them build their skills in a way that aligns with those expectations.

Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent (FAST) – Immigrant Employment Council of BC

FAST is an online skills assessment and development platform that helps newcomers close skills and accreditation gaps. The program accelerates newcomer integration by proactively working with newcomers before, or soon after, their arrival. Read the interim report here.

In Motion & Momentum+ (IM&M+) – Canadian Career Development Foundation

IM&M+ is an action-oriented learning program that supports individuals with pre-employment needs to build foundational skills and identify their strengths and accomplishments as sources of motivation, hope and pride.

Lift/Futur en tête – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Lift/Futur en tête helps youth with mental health needs participate and thrive in a changing economy. It was adapted from the Integrated Placement and Support (IPS) model, that plots a unique path by adopting a “place-then-train” approach instead of focusing on pre-employment training like traditional supported employment.

Material Handling 4.0 (MH 4.0) – Mohawk College

MH 4.0 helps jobseekers gain skills and micro-credentials needed to launch an entry-level career in the supply chain sector. MH 4.0 is a new program designed by Mohawk College’s City School in response to the fourth industrial revolution (“Industry 4.0”), in which the evolution of disruptive technologies is creating barriers to success for those not participating fully in Canada’s labour force.

Reboot Plus Expansion- Douglas College

This program re-engages youth at risk of not graduating from high school and supports them with exploring a career path they are interested in through training, networking and career exploration. It also aims to address current labour market shortages by increasing employers’ willingness to see the potential of youth with barriers and embrace strategies to support them.

Want to learn more? Read our research papers for a wide range of ideas to strengthen career guidance:

August 1, 2022

Responsive Career Pathways Research Brief: Guiding Careers for the Future

The Responsive Career Pathways Research Brief consolidates key findings from our past 9 research papers in partnership with the Future Skills Centre. In this brief, we outline key innovation challenges and opportunities for career guidance services in Canada, and highlight common barriers to accessing these services.

English ReportFrench Report
November 25, 2021

Breaking Down Barriers to Career Development

Career guidance systems could be designed with a whole-of-person lens. This paper considers promising practices in breaking down barriers to career guidance for Canadians.

English ReportFrench Report
November 22, 2021

Navigating Canada’s Messy Education and Training Marketplace for Career-Focused Learning

Adult learners have to navigate an increasingly diverse, fragmented and complex education and training marketplace. This paper assesses options helping Canadian learners navigate their education and learning choices.

English ReportFrench Report
November 19, 2021

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Responsive Career Pathways

The path to accessing career guidance is challenging for racialized people, women and newcomers to Canada. This paper offers opportunities to strengthen our publicly-funded employment systems to effectively address labour market inequity.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

The Role of Employers in Responsive Career Pathways

Employers are critical in establishing more responsive career pathways for Canadians. This paper outlines some of the challenges and opportunities employers are facing related to the future of work and skills.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

The Career Development Profession in Canada and the Emergence of Online/Multi-Modal Practice Delivery

Career development practitioners have a critical role to play in helping Canadians prepare for the future of work. This paper tackles questions about the role of career development practitioners and the evolution of their practice.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

Applying Behavioural Insights to Career Guidance

Offering forward-looking, customized, high-quality and accessible career guidance to a wide range of Canadians is possible. This paper identifies behavioural and motivational barriers to accessing career guidance and offers a promising path ahead.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

Use of Technology and Tools in Responsive Career Pathways

The role and use of technologies that help individuals and career practitioners navigate career pathways are rapidly evolving. This paper outlines potential ways responsive career pathways can be enabled by technology.

English ReportFrench Report
November 16, 2021

Glossary of Terms

This document provides consistent definitions for the terms that are applied across all of the research papers for the Responsive Career Pathways initiative.

English ReportFrench Report
November 16, 2021

A Roadmap for Change: Building Responsive Career Pathways in a Post-Pandemic World

This paper offers considerations for strengthening and aligning our careers and employment systems to better serve Canadians across their career trajectory.

English ReportFrench Report
November 15, 2021

Labour Market Information in Responsive Career Pathways

Finding ways to make labour market information accessible and useful for service providers and individuals is key for creating more responsive career pathways.

English ReportFrench Report

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