The Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI), Digital Marketing Bootcamp (DMB) and the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator (CTTA) provided training to a total of 11,778 participants; 8,536 of these participants identify as Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) or belong to an underrepresented group. The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, in partnership with these programs, will continue engagement with Indigenous organizations to inform program development and ensure Indigenous Peoples and other groups currently under-represented in B.C.’s technology sector are prioritized to increase the number of training opportunities.
- Number of engagement participants in programs and events: In 2022/23, the ISI, DMB, and the CTTA provided technology sector training to an estimated 2,200 IBPOC participants, of which 791 self-identify as Indigenous.
How are we working together?
A key part of the ISI development process in 2021 involved engaging with a range of organizations representing under-represented groups and Indigenous Peoples. Engagement took place through roundtable discussions to ensure a wide variety of perspectives were considered. Engagement included the Indigenous Business and Investment Council of BC, One Feather and Jelly Digital Marketing. The ISI aims to help under-represented people get their first job in B.C.’s tech sector and provides grants to help employers hire a new employee. Innovate BC engaged with the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) to provide ISI employers free access to post jobs on the FNTC job board to cross-promote initiatives. In addition, Innovate BC engaged Jelly Academy, an Indigenous-led training provider, to provide information on how to hire recent graduates.
The DMB program is now complete. Future digital skills bootcamps, funded through the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan and delivered over the next three fiscal years, will be engaging and co-operating with Indigenous organizations regarding development and reporting on the program.
NPower Canada, the CTTA’s lead delivery partner has been co-operating with Indigenous organizations and other supporters to ensure that the program is relevant and accessible to Indigenous jobseekers. Funding to continue the CTTA program has been approved through the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan and ministry staff will work with partners to engage with Indigenous organizations to encourage Indigenous participation in the next iteration of the program.
Are there challenges?
While there is a low risk of not meeting program uptake targets, knowing the exact number of Indigenous and under-represented participants is difficult when identification is not a program qualification requirement. Self-identifying is often voluntary and not everyone may feel comfortable answering. Having accurate data is important to monitor and evaluate the success of program development to inform future initiatives to increase the number of tech training opportunities for Indigenous and under-represented groups. Future engagement with Indigenous partners may include discussing how to frame self-identification aspects to encourage more accurate reporting and data.