Future Skills Centre Grants $2.8 million to Upskill Youth


“There is a real sense of accomplishment learning something today and applying it tomorrow. I’ve never been challenged this way,” said Art, 2021 Junior IT Analyst program participant.

TORONTO, ON (May 19, 2021) – NPower Canada announced today that it has generously received an additional $2.8 million in funding from Future Skills Centre (FSC) to upskill Canadian youth for in-demand tech careers. Seeking to prevent the country’s most vulnerable from getting left behind by the digital revolution, this renewed partnership with FSC will help take the achievements of NPower Canada’s Junior Information Technology (IT) Programs to new heights by providing no-cost training, direct job placement, five years of post-hire mentorship, and continued education to thousands of young, diverse, low-income adults.


FSC’s initial financial contribution of $1.8 million last year helped NPower Canada expand its existing programs in Ontario and Alberta, in addition to providing new programming in Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Throughout 2020, a total of 1,033 youth from Ontario and Alberta enrolled in NPower Canada’s Programs, exceeding the annual enrollment target of 1,010. The program also saw 82% of the youth participants complete the 15-week skills training phase of the model, surpassing NPower Canada’s 80% program completion targets. Moreover, 82% of program graduates have secured employment or enrolled in higher education within 12 months of completing training. Alumni have obtained positions such as Junior Support Advisor at Shopify, E-Commerce Coordinator at Mosaic, and App/Cloud Support Associate at Accenture.


To date, FSC’s generous funding helps NPower Canada enroll 3,440 young adults into its 2020 – 2022 workforce development programs in Toronto, Calgary and Halifax, with programs starting in Vancouver this fall.


“This new funding from the Future Skills Centre isn’t just an investment in NPower Canada, says CEO Julia Blackburn. “It is an investment in the lives of young Canadians that will help to build a dynamic, skilled digital workforce that contributes to Canada’s long-term economic growth.”


“Skills in information technology are becoming more in-demand across all industries and sectors,” says Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “Launching low-income, diverse young adults into IT careers is a perfect example of how we can build an inclusive workforce that can power a strong economy for the future. Scaling up this program will accelerate expansion to regions, help thousands of young people who are facing barriers to get and keep good jobs, and give us further insights into what programs will work best to re-skill Canadians for emerging career opportunities.”


The COVID-19 pandemic has made it apparent that now more than ever, Canada must equip its youth for the future of a digitized working environment. NPower Canada’s renewed partnership with FSC will enable the organization to expand its virtual program delivery model across Canada on a larger, accelerated scale. This will result in 4,395 additional program participants by September 2023, when funding is completed, amounting to a total of 7,835 young adults enrolled in the program, 80% of whom will receive globally recognized IT industry certifications such as Google IT Support Professional, and more. Within 12 months of completing the training, a total of 5,014 graduates will secure sustainable employment and/or enroll in post-secondary education.


NPower Canada’s agile, hybrid learning model also enables the organization to bring virtual skills training and remote work opportunities to Indigenous, Francophone, and Northern communities, in addition to larger metropolitan hubs like Montreal and Ottawa-Gatineau. By partnering with top industry players like Microsoft and Google to equip low-income, diverse youth with in-demand tech skills and place them into meaningful employment, NPower Canada aims to create a more inclusive technology workforce. NPower Canada also provides employers with urgently needed pipelines of skilled and diverse talent, ultimately making a measurable contribution to Canada’s economic resilience and recovery, during and post-pandemic.


The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a pan-Canadian organization passionate about creating a future in which everyone has life-long access to high-quality career advice and learning opportunities. FSC is dedicated to helping Canadians learn the skills they need to thrive in a changing labour market. A forward-looking organization, FSC prototypes, tests, and measures new and innovative approaches to skills development and training. We are passionate about building a resilient learning nation, backed by an agile and responsive skills ecosystem.