Help wanted. That’s what many tech companies across Canada are saying, and research shows that as the demand for skilled workers increases, hiring good employees is only going to become more of a challenge. In fact, by the end of 2025, the Information and Communications Technology Council, predicts “the Canadian digital economy will see a demand for 250,000 additional jobs.” Fortunately, the ADaPT program exists to train new talent and match graduates with companies looking to recruit.
The Advanced Digital and Professional Training Program (ADaPT) is designed to benefit both employers looking to hire skilled but entry-level employees and young people who are new to the workforce. Funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre and led by the Toronto Metropolitan University’s (formerly Ryerson University) Diversity Institute in collaboration with TECHNATION Canada, ADaPT offers free skills training to students in their final semester or to post-secondary graduates looking for full-time employment.
Participants entering ADaPT come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have a range of educational experiences. In fact, ADaPT is designed to create pathways into technology-driven fields for young people with non-traditional tech backgrounds and training. Since 2014, over 1,300 participants have gone through ADaPT’s core program with over 80 per cent belonging to diverse groups including women, LGBTQ2S+, racialized persons, persons living with a disability, recent immigrants to Canada and Indigenous peoples—exactly the kind of hires that benefit companies, according to research.
Even the World Economic Forum reports that companies with more diverse leadership earn more revenue from innovation (45 per cent versus 26 per cent earned by companies with less diverse leadership.) And yet, despite that kind of evidence, Canada’s tech sector is still overlooking certain people in the talent pool. The Tech and People Network (TAP Network) reports that “representation of people identifying as women, as Indigenous, and as people with disabilities in Canada’s tech sector remains significantly lower than Canada’s population.”
Once accepted into the program, students are given more than 70 hours of digital and professional training over the course of eight weeks where they learn in-demand skills including: digital literacy, business communications, research, critical thinking, business financials, social media analytics, data analysis and visualization, UX design and design thinking. In addition, they are also provided with career coaching, personal development and networking strategies while being offered support in finding meaningful work placements.
The real beneficiaries of ADaPT are employers who are looking for talent. Employers who get involved with ADaPT benefit from talent that can hit the ground running because of the training ADaPT participants receive. The program also provides recruitment services, and even potential wage subsidies.
The biggest incentive, however, is having access to motivated, talented and well-trained employees from a variety of educational backgrounds including the arts, social sciences, humanities, design and business programs—exactly the kind of well-rounded talent that is required to fill so many vacant jobs in the information and communications technology sector.
Some of Canada’s top employers are engaged with ADaPT and have hired ADaPT graduates, including Bell Media, RBC, and Moneris.
Start-ups and early-stage companies are also finding ADaPT invaluable as a source of talent, Calgary-based Alethea Medical is one of them. Over the past three years, the company, which connects family physicians with specialists over a secure electronic platform and promises consultations within 24 hours, has hired several ADaPT graduates for roles involving development, AI, product management and marketing.
“There is sometimes funding that comes with the ADaPT program which enables us to bring on funded students and allows us to grow. Without them we wouldn’t be able to hire at the needed rate,” explained Alethea Medical CEO Steven Pilz.
He added that the company is devoted to hiring diverse employees—both because it’s the right thing to do and because studies show that diverse hiring leads to a diversity in thinking, which benefits the business.
To find out more about how you can access ADaPT trained talent and resources, visit here.