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Upskilling for a stronger economy

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.

Palette Skills is a leader in delivering rapid upskilling programs designed to transition Canadians into high-demand careers. We work with industry partners in the country’s fast-growing knowledge and technology economy. We know Canada has one of the most educated and diverse workforces in the world. But promising Canadian companies can struggle to find talent with the right skills and aptitude. 

It’s an example of Canada’s so-called skills gap—workers lacking the know-how for jobs being created in emerging sectors of the economy, but having the foundational skills to do the work. While there are debates about the scope of the country’s skills gap, there is agreement that Canada needs a national skills framework.

How we work

Upskilling Canadians For Growing Industries

Ensuring innovative companies find the talent they need and helping people find meaningful employment are two sides of the same strategy. At Palette Skills, our mission is to help Canada’s most innovative companies access untapped talent by creating rapid upskilling opportunities that result in new pipelines of talent for high demand roles.

We're using our expertise to build a coalition of partners

Upskilling is the answer

Working with employers, community groups, as well as with leading universities and other post-secondary institutions, our upskilling programs are making a difference, right now. 

In 2021 alone, we’ve trained 250+ participants in multiple cohorts through our innovative SalesCamp programs. Within 6 months of completing the program, 96% of graduates received at least one job offer and 36% of our graduates received a promotion, or moved up to a better position.

What makes our programs so successful? A key part of the answer lies with our industry partnerships. 

Canada national upskilling
Driven by industry
Everything we do is driven and informed by industry

Driven by industry—and results

Our philosophy is that for upskilling to work, it has to be aligned with the demands of Canadian business. So Palette Skills builds relationships with leaders in the private sector to identify skills that industry needs most. These are innovative companies in growth: 72% of our employer partners are SMEs with 200 employees or less. In 2021 alone, we partnered with 86 employers, with nearly half of those returning to help upskill new cohorts of talented Canadians looking to build rewarding careers. 

Upskilling is not the same thing as training.

Why upskilling works

While traditional training programs teach people a set of new skills, upskilling focuses on what it takes to move someone into a new job, taking a broader approach that positions the learner in the context of a lifelong career path. While learning new technical skills is a core part of the upskilling journey, so too is building the professional skills and establishing industry-relevant networks.

These human skills—like communication, negotiation, or networking—are a sophisticated set of competencies that are often the most important determinant to lifelong career success and industry connections are vital to navigating a successful job search.

Tech Sales Jobs Canada
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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Upskilling

How Will Canada Leverage Its Innovation Potential?

Canada has much of the infrastructure in place in order to grow its innovation economy. The country is home to a number of globally-ranked universities, and cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are hubs for globally successful start-ups. It’s the beginning of a great ecosystem, but it needs more.

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Career Transitions

The future of tech careers

Starting in on a tech career and nervous about the numbers? Before you lose sleep, it’s important to look at trends in the industry here in Canada, because there are lots of reasons to be optimistic. At the same time, it’s good to be prepared, so check out our tips for weathering storms, and taking advantage of opportunities.

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