Program helping newcomers achieve job success shows strong results and promise for scale

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.


(Toronto, February 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 2,000participants 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.


For more information, please contact:

Jane Hilderman, VP Public Affairs and Partnerships



Additional quotes


“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 seethe 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

●    AS FSC’s evidence partner Blueprint worked with FAST to conduct a 2019 – 2021 evaluation of the FAST platform, tracking outcomes for 245 participants who completed the program. Results of the evaluation can be read here.

●    The evaluation highlights important lessons that service providers can use to improve newcomer employment programs – from providing preparation for Canadian workplace culture to building partnerships with regional organizations.

●    On the basis of strong evaluation findings, the Future Skills Centre (FSC) invested additional funding of $2.76 million to expand this program in mid-2021.

●    From September 2021 to January 2022, an additional162 newcomers registered for FAST


About the Scaling Up Skills Initiative

●    The Future Skills Centre (FSC) has invested $25.9 million in funding for the expansion of 10 projects that have shown early signs of success and the potential for wider impact through regional or sectoral replication, adaptation or broader scale expansion. As part of the Scaling Up Skills Initiative, FSC will disseminate rapid insights to other practitioners, policymakers, and groups in the workforce development sector.

●    All 10 projects will receive targeted, intensive implementation and evidence generation support from Blueprint.


About Blueprint

Blueprint works with policymakers and practitioners to create and use evidence to solve complex policy and program challenges. Blueprint’s team brings together a multidisciplinary group of professionals with diverse capabilities in policy research, data analysis, design, evaluation, evaluation, implementation and knowledge mobilization. As a consortium partner of the Future Skills Centre, Blueprint works with partners and stakeholders to collaboratively generate and use evidence to help solve pressing future skills challenges.