It’s no secret Canada has a severe technology industry skills shortage, but a new partnership between the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is hoping to change that.

The public and private sector collaborative effort will be announcing a pilot project at CATA’s Innovation Gala on May 17 aimed at helping veterans use their military skills and training in apprenticeship job placements with “leading Canadian public and private sector employers.”

The project, dubbed the CATA Cyber Council, will have a mandate of “driving progress” by focusing on three key areas of concern and opportunity in Canada: the skilled labor shortage; growth and economic prosperity for Canada through the advancement of cyber security; and advocacy and public awareness.

An April 2017 Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) report indicated that Canada will need to fill approximately 216,000 technology-related positions by 2021, up from 2015 predictions of 182,000 by 2019.

Katherine Thompson, CATA’s Cyber Council founder and chair, calls the skilled labour shortage in the cyber security industry “a global dilemma” and hopes that this initiative is the first step in solving it.

“We believe this pilot initiative will begin to address the immediate needs of the Canadian marketplace while serving as the foundation for expanding Canada’s expertise and capabilities in the long-term,” she says in a May 10 press release.

CATA CEO, John Reid, adds, “This is also a wonderful example of the potential and impact of collaboration between the public and private sectors. The dedication, integrity and commitment of the Canadian military community to this project has been overwhelming.”