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The Future of Work

Building An Inclusive, Globally Competitive Canada

Our vision is a Canada where all people and organizations thrive as the result of a globally competitive and inclusive economy. We believe one of the best ways we can make this happen is by building skills to future-proof Canadian business and workers. 

Making an impact

Amplifying The Boundless Potential Of People.

Canada has one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world. And yet, employers still struggle to find the talent they need to grow. It’s clear that we are underutilizing the diverse, skilled workforce we already have, resulting in a double-sided drag on productivity, where companies aren’t tapping into the skills they need to grow their businesses, and Canadians aren’t unlocking their full economic and human potential.

The big question is: why aren’t we taking full advantage of the skilled talent that already exists here? We have built our mission at Palette Skills around understanding the answer to that question. Read our white paper, “Upskilling Canada: How to unlock our highly skilled workforce and build a more inclusive economy” to learn more about how to solve this challenge.

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How we work

Building a National Upskilling Strategy

Ensuring innovative Canadian companies find the talent they need and helping people find meaningful employment are two sides of the same strategy. To overcome the issue of underutilization, we need a solution that brings everyone to the table – employers, program providers, community partners, government and industry – to align our work and drive change across a number of systems. We believe that to build this solution, Canada needs a national upskilling strategy

Upskilling is different than training.

Why upskilling works

While traditional training programs teach people a set of new skills, upskilling focuses on what it takes to get someone into a new job. The main difference is in the outcomes they seek to achieve. A trainee may leverage their new skills to switch jobs, but from the perspective of the training provider, the desired outcome is that the trainee has learned something new. 

Upskilling is about moving someone into a new job. While learning new skills is undoubtedly a core part of that process, so is gaining the professional acumen needed to succeed in a new industry, and successfully navigate the job search and interview process to land a new role.

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Have a question?

Frequently Asked Questions

Palette Skills collaborates with some of Canada’s top research universities. Along with insights from our private sector and industry partners, our programs and activities are driven by current research and practice. If you have an idea about building knowledge and research together, we invite you to contact us.

Thinking about upskilling and its role in the economy is moving fast. Make sure you consult this page, or search our News & Blog area. Finally, you can keep up by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we regularly post the latest in research, analysis, and opinion on upskilling in Canada, and around the world. 

For upskilling to work, it has to meet the needs of growing business. We consult with our private sector and research partners to identify key areas of real growth. Our focus on demand-driven upskilling means that we always have an ear to the ground, working to identify in-demand skills and industries. Visit our Partners page to learn more about working with us!

We partner with growing businesses, associations, colleges, universities, economic development group, research groups and other non-profits. We’re dedicated to working with all organizations committed to upskilling, and to building a stronger, more inclusive Canada.

Like all not-for-profits, Palette Skills benefits from the participation of a diverse and committed Board of Directors, including the input of our 11 founding members. These include the Business Council of Canada, Council of Canadian Innovators, Business Council of British Columbia, Brookfield Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, University of Guelph, Université Laval, University of Saskatchewan and the University of Toronto.

To learn more about the people at Palette Skills, check out Our Team here.

At Palette Skills, we’re committed to fostering a more equitable, prosperous and resilient economy. We believe that inclusivity and diversity is a source of innovation and strength. Palette Skills has built a team with a range of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. We know that these commitments are what has led to the success of our organization—and our people. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be.

Our participants come from a range of backgrounds, and bring a wealth of experience to the upskilling journey. Many of our program participants are women, and a significant number are people of colour, while many others are new Canadians. What brings them all together is a desire to learn new skills, and build new careers. 

We currently design, develop and deliver programs in the high demand areas of B2B sales and agriculture technology. We are actively exploring new programming to address key sector specific challenges in the areas of agri-tech, supply chain management, advanced manufacturing and fin-tech. 

We are a national non-profit funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, and by the Province of Ontario. We receive additional funding from organizations like Innovate B.C. and Protein Industries Canada. 

Resources

Upskilling & Launching your career

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