Microsoft’s educational initiatives are empowering Canadians with the essential skills they need to succeed in the digital economy and future workforce.
Adopting digital technologies supported Canada’s economic resilience during COVID-19, and as the Canadian economy bounces back post-pandemic, it’s clear that the use of technology isn’t slowing down. In fact, Canada’s economic recovery and future are increasingly digital, and it’s essential that Canadians gain the skills needed to succeed in a digital-first world — especially given the rapid rate of transformation and current job gaps in the industry. Fortunately, a series of education-focused initiatives from Microsoft is helping to equip and empower the next generation of digital leaders with essential skills to thrive in this new economy.
Strengthening Canada’s innovation economy
Digital skills are highly in demand. According to Microsoft Canada’s 2022 “Economic and Social Impact Report,” over 70 percent of jobs require basic digital skills in today’s labour market, and the need is growing — over 250,000 digitally-skilled workers are projected to be needed in the Canadian economy by 2025. Already, several industries are experiencing labour shortages and hiring challenges, with many citing skill shortages as the main cause of hiring difficulty. Digital talent is also essential for encouraging ongoing innovation in Canada’s economy.
Digital skilling is essential to support post-pandemic recovery and bridge the digital skills gap among the workforce. To build a talent pipeline, Microsoft is leading the way through a series of investments, partnerships, and programs designed to upskill the Canadian workforce and empower the next generation of leaders. For those already in the workforce, Microsoft is committed to helping further develop their skills, connect learners to jobs, and increase equal access to digital-oriented opportunities.
Helping Canadians become career-ready
Microsoft’s initiatives to prepare the Canadian workforce with essential digital skills include its Canada Skills Program, which launched in September 2020 in partnership with 12 post-secondary institutions and expanded in March 2021 in partnership with eight schools. The program focuses on helping students graduate with in-demand AI, data engineering, data analytics, cybersecurity, and cloud skills and certifications, and is an essential part of addressing the tech talent shortage in Canada. In 2021 alone, it helped over 30,000 students at post-secondary institutions across Canada to bolster their digital skills and employability with diploma, degree, and continuing education programs.
Most recently, the Canada Skills Program transformed again with a recent partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), HCL Technologies, and Sobeys. This next iteration of the program will continue to inspire future generations to expand their technical skills by equipping them with digital skilling opportunities at no cost to students, with the added support of the new partners. Together, RBC, HCL Technologies Canada, and Sobeys who will offer a range of micro-credential projects and technical and career mentorship opportunities to help students further their careers and enhance their skills through the program.
Successful upskilling initiatives
As the Canada Skills Program has grown and evolved over the past two years, its success is best demonstrated through the achievements of its participants. Sasan Taghadosi is a former student at the University of Calgary Continuing Education who recently completed his AI-900, Azure Data Fundamentals Certification through the Canada Skills Program and is now working at RBC as a Senior Data Quality Analyst. “The Azure Fundamentals Certification was extremely relevant and helped equip me with the right skills and information to pursue a career in a technical data-related field,” he says. “The program equipped me with skills that have helped me excel in my current position at RBC and I look forward to leveraging my knowledge as I evolve my career in a data-driven field.”
The next evolution of the Canada Skills Program will continue to empower more Canadians like Taghadosi to participate in the digital economy and build essential skills to succeed in the future workforce. And Microsoft’s other upskilling and education-focused initiatives continue to lead the way, too. Explore Microsoft, for example — a 10-week summer internship program in partnership with TECHNATION Canada specifically designed for first- and second-year college and university students— recently invited 50 students to the Microsoft Canada HQ to take part work-integrated learning experience program. The program is intended for students who are beginning their academic studies and would like to learn more about careers in technology through experiential learning. Students have the opportunity to participate in skilling programs and mentorship opportunities as well as a group project experience where students can explore core tech disciplines in a professional setting.
The digital future in Canada is bright, and Microsoft is helping to equip our workforce.