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A little over a year since the EDGE UP program was announced, a group of former oil and gas workers completed their training for tech skills for jobs in the digital economy and graduated from the four-month course.

The 49 Calgarians who were part of the first cohort for EDGE UP (Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project) took part in a virtual grad ceremony July 30. The re-skilling pilot project led by Calgary Economic Development with partners including the Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF), Information and Communications Council of Canada (ICTC), the University of Calgary Continuing Education, SAIT, Bow Valley College, and Riipen.

The goal of the program is to help transition displaced mid-career oil and gas professionals in Calgary to high-demand, high-growth digital technology opportunities. The second cohort is now under way. More than 1,000 people have applied for the program that has streams for information technology project management, data analytics, or full-stack software development.

"We are very honored to be a part of this program,” said Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the FSC. “Our mandate at the FSC is that we have to anticipate how the economy is going to change and we have to come up with solutions. We are always keeping an eye on diversity and inclusion."

Several of the graduates shared personal anecdotes about their experiences in the program and how it has impacted their lives.

“What this program means is that I’m hopeful and confident again about looking at job postings in growing economic areas where I have new skills, instead of just facing despair,” said one of the grads.

“The EDGE UP training program has been an unforgettable, life-changing event,” said another. “The most important part is, I found myself back. I have never worked this hard and felt this good about myself for the last 20 years.”

The graduates are now prepared to re-enter the workforce with a new set of tech-based skills that are in high demand in today’s digital economy.

“These grads have taken the first step,” said Mary Moran, President and Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Economic Development. “Now we hope employers who need to fill tech jobs will provide opportunities to this new pool of talent.”

“Our next goal is to expand the program. We want more Calgarians to be part of the digital transformation of our economy and make Calgary a city that is embracing advanced technology to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.”

For more information about the program, visit EDGE UP’s website.

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