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Can upskilling in IT help the “Women, Youth, Indigenous peoples, and new Canadians” who face a disproportionate impact from the pandemic?

Posted on March 21, 2016

This article has been adapted from Medium with the author’s consent. 


‘Women, Youth, Indigenous Peoples, and new Canadians were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” according to the federal Industry Strategy Council (ISC) in the “Restart, Recover, and Reimagine” COVID-19 report. World Economic Forum (WEF) echoed similar sentiments in the “Future of Jobs Report 2020”. Illustrated in a report titled “The Long Shadow of an Unlucky Start,” IMF fears challenges associated with seeking jobs in a pandemic-induced recession can lead to a disproportionate loss of income, lower quality of living, increased health concerns, premature deaths, and higher criminal activity, particularly in youth.  


Fortunately, not all hope is lost, as the “Future of Jobs Report 2020” by the World Economic Forum illustrates a number of industries expected to experience growth.  


Emerging Roles of 2025, according to WEF. 


World Economic Forum’s Jobs of Tomorrow Report, authored in partnership with LinkedIn and Coursera, reported that across 20 economies, 99 jobs consistently experienced growing demand. At the forefront was a demand for AI and Data Analytics along with Engineering, Cloud Computing, and Product Development, reflecting the adoption of technologies and demand for products & services. Also on the forefront were roles in the care economy, such as marketing, sales, and content production.  


While focusing on trends in career pivots and transitions, the study found that while transitions in People & Culture, and Engineering fields have been done by individuals of high skill similarities, transitions into Marketing and Content Development have seen lower similarities in skills. Transitions into Cloud Computing have mainly been made by IT professionals and engineers. Meanwhile, Data and AI have experienced the largest variations in skill profiles from transitioning individuals. Data and AI, Product Development, and Cloud Computing have been found to present more opportunities to break into the field at the frontier, with fewer requirements for full-skill matches.  


Reskilling and Upskilling for Emerging Roles 


As nationwide lockdowns and stay-at-home orders bring challenges for transitional forms of education, online training from private organizations has become an increasingly popular form of upskilling and reskilling for employed and unemployed individuals. Upskilling and reskilling will prove to be essential to both attaining and maintaining employment as an estimated 85 million redundant jobs will be displaced from humans to machines, with another estimated 97 million roles emerging better adapted for a new division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms, according to the WEF.  


According to the WEF, 2020 experienced a fourfold increase in individuals seeking learning opportunities online on their own, a fivefold increase in learners through employer provisions, and a ninefold increase through government programs. In addition to this, both employers and individuals are favoring short-cycle upskilling, making online learning an appealing choice, as many online and private institutions offer part-time, short-term curriculums which emphasize essential skills and techniques over theory-based education.  


Case Study: SysIntelligence Institute of Technology 

Ontario-based IT Consulting & Training Company SysIntelligence Institute of Technology (SysIIT), experienced an influx of learners enrolling in Data Analytics and Cloud Computing programs after pivoting to an online learning model. This was made possible thanks to their early adoption of cloud-based technologies before the pandemic, allowing students to access lab environments from home. Students from the institute have also experienced great success. Ninety percent of SysIIT’s Cloud Computing students were able to secure employment in cloud-based roles within three months of completing the training program. Currently, SysIIT is offering detailed courses in Data Analytics, AI & Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, and many more.  

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