Computer training will help indigenous people close the skills gap – Ponoka News
By Rebecca Medel, reporter at the Local Journalism Initiative, Windspeaker.com
The world has become entirely technology-based, but sometimes skills training and digital literacy do not reach the most remote communities quickly.
As part of a commitment to close the skills gap, Google Canada announced a $ 600,000 grant on December 15 to support Indigenous job seekers with free digital skills training.
Research has shown a significant skills and education gap affecting Indigenous populations in Canada, which affects employment opportunities and creates greater economic division.
ComIT’s Recoding Futures computer training program will receive $ 500,000 grant from Google.org, Indspire education and professional training programs will receive $ 100,000, and Google Career Certificate scholarships will be awarded by NPower for indigenous job seekers.
Becca Buffalo, from Maskwacis, graduated from NPower’s Junior IT Analyst program this year with a Google IT Support Professional Certificate that helped her land an internship at Sanjel Energy Services as a Support Analyst.
She said the program was a mix of technical, professional and personal skills, such as learning interviews, setting up a LinkedIn account, and writing cover letters, but also included information on the different styles of interviewing. learning and the different ways of approaching learning.
“Many of us were surprised to see all the ways to learn. They taught us about memory and a lot about teamwork. We had scrum groups in the morning where we were reviewing what we had accomplished the day before and what we were going to accomplish that day, ”Buffalo said.
“This program was perfect for learning skills and getting a job. I would say if you can afford it and you are interested, even slightly, this program will give you a lot of help in all of these areas.
Buffalo said the program applied both digital skills enhancement and cultural traditions and practices to his learning, which gave him confidence and pride as he progressed in his career.
“They provide a lot of support to the Indigenous participants. They organized a sharing circle for me and other Indigenous participants in the course.
Since leaving Argentina for Canada a few years ago, Pablo Listingart, Executive Director of ComIT, has noticed the digital skills gap that exists between indigenous and non-indigenous populations in Canada. He wanted ComIT to do something about it. He says less than one percent of Canada’s Indigenous population works in tech.
“So it’s a really under-represented minority in the tech industry. And I think in a country that constantly talks about a lack of talent in tech, and ‘let’s go overseas and get immigrants to work in tech’, I have a firm belief that we have a lot of talent in this country. and that we have to train them, ”Listingart said.
“This is something we should have started years ago because we are now in a situation where several reports speak of a shortage of 200,000 people by 2023 in the field of technology.”
ComIT is a charity that started in 2016 and trains anyone in IT for free. This year, the Recoding Futures program began as a vehicle to provide IT training to over 400 Indigenous learners across Canada.
“We started to establish links with indigenous organizations across the country. We wanted to reach people living in remote areas and those who had never thought of technology as a career path, ”Listingart said.
“We should be developing talented, passionate people who are ready to jump into technology. The pandemic has given us a good opportunity to see that a lot of work can be done remotely. So if we have really smart people in remote areas of northern Canada and the Arctic, then we can train them so that they can work remotely for companies in Toronto and Vancouver, anywhere.
The Google grant will be used to bring as many people as possible into the Recoding Futures program. This year, the goal was to take on 300 people and this resulted in around 450. Listingart wants to increase this number to 700 or 800 in 2022 in order to continue to provide access to education to those who wish to explore a new professional path.
The ability to find a job after completing computer training is very likely, as many tech companies, such as Shopify and Google, have grown during the pandemic and are looking to hire thousands of people, according to Listingart.
There is also a need for people who understand systems in everything from retail to manufacturing, as the majority of jobs now have a technology component.