By Halifax Partnerships – May 24, 2022
NPower Canada Graduates Meet the Jobs Demand of the Booming Halifax Tech Market
With the rapid acceleration into a more digital world, it can be difficult to gain the latest tech skills and experience employers are looking for. This is especially true for diverse and underserved communities.
NPower Canada is on a mission to train people who need a job — or a better job — for meaningful technology careers. They envision building a diverse workforce where people from any cultural ethnicity, gender, or social-economic background can succeed in the digital world.
“We do what it takes to get everyone to the starting line so they can reach their full potential,” says Heather MacDonald, program lead. “People come to us with different needs, like a computer or wifi. Others may need mental health resources, childcare, or a more reliable living situation. We break down those barriers and add the training they need for a path to success.”
Originally founded in New York City, NPower Canada started in Ontario, followed by expansions to Alberta, Nova Scotia, British Columbia , with Quebec launching later this year. They operate throughout Nova Scotia, training people in Halifax, Truro, and Cape Breton for entry level tech roles through the Junior IT Analyst Program, supported by Google Canada.
“We provide a comprehensive and holistic approach with wraparound support,” MacDonald says. “While they’re studying for their certification, participants also get fifteen weeks of training in a real-world work simulation.”
The 15-week program balances technical training, professional development, and personal growth, and features guest speakers for candid insight on what it’s like to be a part of the tech scene. Once participants complete the training, they’re placed as helpdesk analysts, junior developers, project control developers, and more.
So far, 72% of our December class is already placed in jobs just three months after completing the training, and within six months, it’s 80%. 14% of out current Spring cohort is already hired thanks to local organizations like Eastlink. Community Partners like NS Works, Reachability, the YMCAs, and of course the Halifax Partnership help us find people ready for this kind of opportunity.”
– Heather MacDonald, Regional Director, NPower Canada
The support squad doesn’t stop post-placement. Program grads receive five years of career support, continuing education, job retention coaching, access to industry mentors, and networking opportunities. It’s not just about a short-term job placement, but about building the kind of momentum that makes a career — and NPower Canada commits to each participant to make sure they’re not alone in their journey.
“I’m blown away by the energy in Halifax right now,” says MacDonald. “We have amazing innovation hubs like COVE, or Volta Labs. We’re hitting fast forward.”
For a talent-training organization like NPower Canada, the Nova Scotia challenge isn’t finding jobs for people, but finding and preparing people to fill the jobs of a booming market.
“In Halifax, there’s no problem finding jobs. Our concern is making sure the people here are ready for those jobs,” she says. “Nova Scotia is currently generating innovation sourced all around the world. If there’s ever been a moment to get better at sharing our resources and upping our capacity to grow, this is it.”
With Nova Scotia having just hit the million mark in population, NPower Canada is helping the province train locals as well as newcomers so everyone can access and contribute to the economy. When both recent and long standing residents are productive, fulfilled, and self-sufficient, communities thrive. And as MacDonald explains, it’s not only technology companies who seek talent.
“My big a-ha moment is that every industry is turning into a tech-driven industry no matter what the field. We can align accreditations and certifications to something of genuine interest. We’re not just training technologists for tech companies. We’re training everyone for the current moment.”
NPower Canada’s second Nova Scotian cohort was the first region in the entire country to reach 80% employed within just a couple of months. That’s not only a testament to east coast growth, but the east coast network.
“Our partners connect us with employers, but they also have amazing connections to people who might participate,” she says. “With Halifax Partnership in particular, there’s a beautiful synergy to how we operate and how they operate. Like us, they’re passionately committed to the potential of our labour market and our people.”