Ryerson to get federally funded Future Skills Centre

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By Emma Sandri

Ryerson University will be home to the new Future Skills Centre, which will research the approaches and skills needed by young Canadians to attain and keep jobs in the modern workforce.

The announcement was made Feb. 14, by federal finance minister Bill Morneau and Patty Hajdu, the federal minister of employment, workforce development and labour.

“When Canadians are working, the economy works,” Morneau said at the FCAD Catalyst.

The centre will also receive $225 million over the next four years and $75 million each year thereafter, according to a government press release from May 2018.

“[It’s about] making sure everyone has a fair chance at success,” said Hajdu at the conference. “There is a shortage of [employable] people with a mismatch of skills.”

Hajdu said Future Skills will be a pan-Canadian project that will help to “invest in young people.”

The federal minister of employment, workforce development and labour Patty Hajdu. Photo: Emma Sandri

The centre will focus on bringing people into the labour market, particularly those who have been “left behind” such as racialized and Indigenous peoples, she said.

In their 2018 press release, the government said the centre will operate at “arms length” to conduct research into new approaches to building skills needed for the workforce.

In addition to the centre, the government also announced a Future Skills Council made up of 15 people across private, public and non-profit sectors. The council will focus on national and regional initiatives and work closely with Hajdu to share information from the centre’s research.

According to council member Lawrence Daniels, the council will work to meet the needs of people across Canada “regardless of where [they] are or who [they] are.”

Council members Lawrence Daniels (left) and Gladys Okine (right). Photo: Emma Sandri

Morneau said the rollout of the centre is expected to happen “very fast” but gave no specific details on when, where or how.

The Logic previously reported in November that Ryerson won the bid for the Future Skills Centre. At the time, the university declined to comment about the centre to The Eyeopener.

Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi thanked the federal government for its vision.

“Collaboration and knowledge sharing are powerful tools,” he said.

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