On November 9, the RBC Foundation announced an investment of $3.5 million over five years to support Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University in their efforts to prepare graduates for the workforce of the future.
The RBC Foundation announced an investment of $3.5 million over five years to support Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University in their efforts to prepare graduates for the workforce of the future. Photo credit: Tomasz Adamski
"By investing in our students, we are investing in our future. Supporting the trades and "green" skills learning is key to preparing youth for the jobs of tomorrow," said Claude DeMone, Regional President, Southwestern Ontario, RBC. "It is estimated that 15 per cent of Canada's labour force is expected to be disrupted over the next 10 years as we transition to a net-zero economy. There is an urgent need for businesses and governments to step up and do more. That's why we are partnering with three of Canada's respected post-secondary institutions, to help prepare youth for the future world of work."
The announcement was made at “Building a Sustainable and Inclusive Future,” a special event hosted by RBC at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. The event featured a panel discussion on the future of work that included Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC as well as the presidents of the three local post-secondary institutions: Vivek Goel (University of Waterloo), Deborah MacLatchy (Wilfrid Laurier University), and John Tibbits (Conestoga College).
Conestoga will receive $650,000 to support its ongoing efforts to change the current perception of what it is like to learn and work within the skilled trades, recruit youth from marginalized communities, and enhance career support resources for new skilled trades professionals.
"We are deeply grateful to RBC and the RBC Foundation for their partnership and investment in Conestoga and our students," said John Tibbits, President of Conestoga. "Funding received through RBC Future Launch will provide opportunities for young people across Canada to discover their potential and launch successful skilled trades careers. It will also contribute to the well-being and prosperity of our communities by building an essential talent pipeline to address urgent skilled workforce needs."
The funding will support the national roll-out of Jill of All Trades, a targeted one-day program developed by Conestoga that will introduce more than 14,000 young women across Canada to the potential of skilled trades careers. The funding will also be used to establish a Skilled Trades Talent Development hub to help individuals from underrepresented groups develop skills for success in the workplace, and create pathways to entrepreneurship through Conestoga's Entrepreneurship Collective for skilled trades professionals hoping to launch or build their own businesses.