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July 2019 Project Announcement

Future Skills Centre Announces $7.65 Million to Help Prepare Mid-Career Workers for New Opportunities


Ten new innovation projects will test and evaluate approaches to best support thousands of workers facing career transitions

Toronto, ON, July 9, 2019 –

Canada’s complex and changing labour market requires mid-career workers to adapt, retrain, and/or upskill to be successful today and in the future economy. We announced yesterday a $7.65 million investment for ten new innovation projects that will help identify the best training opportunities for mid-career workers. From skills assessment platforms and apprenticeships, to upskilling via a virtual reality simulator, thousands of Canadians across the country will participate in testing these novel approaches to skills development.

Many of these projects will engage mid-career workers in specific sectors that are experiencing, or are at risk of, disruption and displacement, and help to identify ways to transition them into high-growth job opportunities. Others will explore common denominator barriers to successful career transitions and improving current services.

These projects will identify needs and test effective approaches to upskilling/skills training across the country:

In Calgary, exploring training types to help prepare and connect highly skilled oil and gas workers with high-demand jobs in the growing tech sector.
In Nova Scotia, assessing the effectiveness of a virtual reality upskilling program for professional truck drivers.
In Oshawa and Kitchener-Waterloo, identifying the specific skills needed by at-risk auto workers to transition to high-demand jobs in the mould-making and injection-moulding trades.
Testing training models that would upskill cashiers and meat processing workers across Canada for higher-skilled jobs in the food and retail sectors.
In Manitoba, assessing enhanced training programs for adult learners who experience “Learner Shock,” including feelings of frustration, confusion, and anxiety about mid-career transitions.
Exploring upskilling opportunities that best support mid-career workers with disabilities across Canada, who are particularly vulnerable to displacement in today’s changing labour market.
While today’s changing labour market can be challenging for many workers, mid-career workers with disabilities (MCWD) are both more vulnerable to market disruptions and face additional barriers to career adaptability.

Learn more about our innovation projects with full project descriptions:


Supporting Mid-Career Workers with Disabilities through Community-Building, Education and Career-Progression Resources (MCWD) with UOIT, York University, Nipissing University, Durham College, National Educational Association of Disabled Students, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities, Quebec Association for Equity and Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education

UOIT (Ontario Tech University), together with partners including the National Educational Association of Disabled Students, Council of Canadians With Disabilities, Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities and Quebec Association for Equity and Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education, has designed a project to assess MCWD needs and develop and evaluate tools and resources to increase their ability to make key decisions about career transitions.

The Future Skills Centre will invest $650,632 in this project, which will take place over two years, and will impact hundreds of mid-career workers with disabilities across Canada.

The project has three aims: (1) to increase peer support and networking opportunities, (2) to develop career adaptiveness and related skills, and (3) to provide a sense of hope about work. This will be accomplished in three phases:

Identifying the needs and experiences of MCWD in their work ecosystem (employers and disability organizations/advocacy groups);
Developing tools and resources that match these needs, including an educational toolkit, peer-to-peer online network, career resources, and a virtual coaching series; and,
Testing and evaluating these tools and resources.

The tools and resources will be informed by research into the experiences, perceptions, and needs of mid-career workers with disabilities.


“We are really happy that this theme resonated with so many regional, community-based, and academic organizations,” said Mel Wright, Interim Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “Together with our partners, we look forward to learning from these projects and contributing to a growing evidence base of innovative and effective approaches to skills and training for mid-career workers, for the benefit of all Canadians.”

“On behalf of our partners and the Interim Advisory Board, we are thrilled to announce the funding of these ten mid-career innovation projects,” said Steven Liss, Vice-President of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University and Acting Chair of the Future Skills Centre Interim Advisory Board. “Their diversity in scope, formats, sectors, and regions reminds us of the breadth of Canadian experiences and the need for local responses. In conjunction with a pan-Canadian strategy, this approach will help us become a nation of lifelong learners.”

“The nature of work is changing and Canadians need to be equipped with the skills necessary to find the good, quality jobs of the future. These ten new innovative projects will test new training approaches, across a number of sectors, to support Canadian workers to keep their skills up-to-date and in demand for the future Canadian economy,” said Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Workforce Development and Labour.

About the Future Skills Centre

The Future Skills Centre – Centre des Compétences futures (FSC-CCF) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead.

Media Contact

Eglantine Ronfard
Communications Manager | Responsable des communications
Future Skills Centre—Centre des Compétences futures
Phone: 416.979.5000 ext: 544413