Jun 08, 2020
Shannon van Leenen
Media Relations Officer
Bow Valley College is Bridging the Gap for job seekers and employers with $1.5M investment
Calgary – Bow Valley College is proud to announce it has been awarded $1.52 million by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre to help Canadians secure employment by demonstrating their competencies to prospective employers. This significant investment in Bridging the Gap will be used to develop both scalable Artificial Intelligence (AI) assessments and a technology platform to support reskilling and upskilling.
This Bow Valley College-led initiative will be a tremendous asset as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Addressing the skills gap and preparing Canadians for the rapidly changing workforce has always been critical, and is even more relevant in these unprecedented times,” says Dr. Misheck Mwaba, Vice President Academic, Bow Valley College.
The unique aspects of Bridging the Gap are its pan-Canadian scope, the inclusion of underrepresented populations, an emphasis on both technology infrastructure and service delivery, and a coalition of 10 academic, public and private partners.
Bow Valley College and six additional post-secondary institutions will each identify two in-demand jobs in their region. Scalable AI assessments will be created for those jobs, which will then be offered to job seekers through a network of almost 50 community partners. Bow Valley College will certify the results with a micro-credential that can be presented to employers. “This will be a valuable tool for laid-off Canadians, people hoping to advance within their organization, and those looking to transition to a new career,” says Mwaba.
Bridging the Gap will also catalyze an innovative, sustainable business model by creating a technologically advanced learning platform that serves as an online marketplace for job seekers, employers, and content providers. “The aim is to reduce unemployment, allow people to fulfil their potential, and create social and economic prosperity,” says Mwaba. “The College’s mission to make all learning count uniquely positions us to contribute to this conversation.”
Future Skills Centre funding addresses labour market disruptions and Canadians’ transitions to new jobs or industries. The Centre looks for ways employers can effectively develop and deliver demand-driven solutions to skills gap challenges, and build a resilient workforce.
Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre, says the ability to quickly and accurately assess jobseekers’ competencies and enable them to receive micro-credentials to demonstrate proof to prospective employers is an excellent example of how the FSC is investing in innovative and radical approaches to training, building capacity, and filling future skills gaps. “Leveraging artificial intelligence is a key enabler in managing assessments and credentialing in changing industries,” says Barata. “Programs such as this that connect job seekers, employers, and content providers will fill skills gaps in rapidly evolving sectors across Canada.”
Bridging the Gap partners are Ametros Learning, Canada West Foundation, D2L, Georgian College, IBM Canada, Langara College, New Brunswick Community College, NorQuest College, Red River College, Vanier College, and WorkForce Strategies International.
Its implementation is being led by Pivot-Ed, a Bow Valley College venture that optimizes human potential. Pivot-Ed helps individuals to demonstrate their competencies for a role, recommends learning for identified gaps, and certifies the results with a recognized micro-credential.
Bridging the Gap is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. Le projet Bridging the Gap est financé par le Centre des Compétences futures du gouvernement du Canada.