Future Skills Centre invests almost $1.5M in EDGE UP

July 9, 2019
In the Media Reskilling & Upskilling Technology Talent
calgary+newsroom+Future Skills Centre invests almost 1.5M in EDGE UP

Highly skilled energy sector workers displaced mid-career will have access to tech training in Calgary through an almost $1.5 million investment from The Future Skills Centre in EDGE UP; a project led by Calgary Economic Development and a consortium of partners.

The funding for EDGE UP: Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project was one of several initiatives announced by Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF) to test innovative approaches to skills development challenges for mid-career workers across Canada.

The EDGE UP digital upskilling project involves a consortium of post-secondary institutions, government agencies and the private sector. It is led by Calgary Economic Development and includes University of Calgary Continuing Education, SAIT, Bow Valley College, ICTC Canada, and Riipen.

Calgary Economic Development, in collaboration with the partners, will design, implement and evaluate the two-year program. The pilot project will develop a program that will transition displaced workers into opportunities in high-growth technology fields.

The program will target the highly educated workers displaced during the structural change in the energy sector in recent years, such as engineers and geoscientists. Through EDGE UP, they could be trained for and placed in specific tech jobs including; data analysts, full stack developers, information technology project managers, business analysts, and business development.

“The work culture is changing and Calgarians need the hard and soft skills for the jobs that are in demand in the new economy,” said Mary Moran, President & Chief Executive Officer for Calgary Economic Development. “We are pleased by the strong collaboration and unified front by all partners – including post-secondaries, industry experts, and the private sector – in supporting the community for the economic development of Calgary.”

“Calgary is filled with highly skilled workers, including engineers and geoscientists. As the economy transitions, these workers are often ideal candidates to meet the needs of the growing tech sector,” said Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr. “As part of our government’s Future Skills Centre, the EDGE UP: Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project will pilot a retraining program to prepare former energy sector workers to move into in-demand tech jobs.”

"Future Skills Centre is thrilled to be working with Calgary Economic Development and its partners to test and evaluate the EDGE UP project and assess its impact in transitioning workers into high-growth technology fields. This project will be rigorously evaluated and will generate actionable evidence on "what works, why, and for whom" in skills development, and for mid-career transitions in particular. These outcomes will contribute to the Future Skills Centre’s growing research base on the innovative approaches and skills needed for Canadians to thrive in a changing workforce," said Melanie Wright, Interim Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre.  

Talent and Innovation are two of four pillars of the Economic Strategy Calgary in the New Economy. EDGE UP will bring together those two elements of the Strategy to drive digital transformation in industry.

The EDGE UP pilot project will be implemented in two phases over two years:

1. Pilot Design: Calgary Economic Development will consult with local employers to determine the most promising digital upskilling pathways; training institutions will develop the curriculum and participants will be selected.

2. Pilot Implementation: Six cohorts of displaced professionals will start training in areas including; workplace readiness, cultural and technical skills, and work-integrated learning.

Participants in the cohorts will be aligned with job opportunities upon completion.

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences Futures is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. It is a forward-thinking research centre focused on how to best prepare Canadians today for workforce opportunities of the future. The Centre will test innovative approaches to identify emerging in-demand skills and help Canadians develop the skills they need to succeed in the new economy. FSC-CCF is a partnership between Ryerson University, Conference Board of Canada, and Blueprint.

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