October 21, 2021

Imagine a program that reduces barriers to learning experiences and empowers participants to achieve their full potential.

Imagine a program that recognizes the varied pathways and different sources of knowledge to tailor training that meets the needs of learners of all ages, abilities, identities, and locations.

What do you see?

We see two of our new pilot programs: Unlocking Inclusive Pre-Apprenticeship Pathways and Skills Compass.

At their core, these two new programs encourage skills development, promote applied learning opportunities, and help prepare people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (including women, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, and persons with disabilities) for fulfilling careers.

  • Both programs aim to build a stronger and more diverse labour force of workers with transferrable skillsets, ready to adapt to market shifts and evolving workforce demands.

Our strongest advocates are the participants themselves.

While the Unlocking Inclusive Pre-Apprenticeship Pathways program is currently still underway with 5 member institutions involved in the pilot program (set to conclude in March), and 8 members involved in creating the best practice. Skills Compass is in development mode and set to begin with five delivery partners in January.

Here’s what we’ve heard so far:

At Canadore College, students appreciated the opportunity to take part in training offered in a rural setting while receiving guidance from trusted college staff:

  • “I would like to say thank you, this is one of the best programs I have ever been in. I will highly recommend this to more people if this ever comes back to the Parry Sound area again.” Jamie, former student at Canadore College.

At Algonquin College, students in the Academic Assistance for Adults with Developmental Disabilities program said the program offered them pride in independence and a chance to dream about future goals and projects:

  • “My dream is to open a bistro, so I need to improve my skills. I enjoy baking and making coffee. This is a wonderful program to help you get on top in the restaurant industry. I would like to encourage you to never give up, do your best and keep up the good work!” Sophie, student at Algonquin College.

And at Yukon University, others participating in the Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry Program for Women, enjoyed the opportunity to forge through less familiar ground with support and confidence:

  • “Last year, I attended an art school and had the opportunity to work in a shop with a variety of tools. I come from a trades background, and many of my brothers work in mechanics. When I was in art school, I really enjoyed working with the tools, but felt insecure using the tools around the shop and wanted to gain some confidence. I found this program to be great in learning new skills and determining whether I want to pursue a career in carpentry. Specifically, I like the program because it is tailored to people who don’t identify as men (women and queer folks), and that felt like a safe environment to learn. The fact that it was free tuition made it an easy decision. Overall, it has been a great opportunity to build confidence and it has been empowering.” Julaine, student at Yukon University.

With such powerful testimonies so far, we can’t wait to see what happens next! As skills gaps persist and unemployment continues to raise, it is more important than ever to support under-represented and disadvantaged groups looking to develop their skills.