This is a question that is top-of-mind for students and decision- makers at Ontario’s post-secondary institutions. In April 2017, the Ontario government announced a $190 million dollar investment to support the Career Kick-Start Strategy. Part of this initiative was to give every college and university student in Ontario access to skills-focused online learning through Lynda.com (LinkedIn.com). As part of this announcement, eCampusOntario was named as the point of access for Lynda.com in the province and is currently working with member institutions to roll-out the full suite of Lynda.com video-based skills training content to all learners, educators and staff at no cost for a three-year pilot.
In a 2017 report for the Canada West Foundation, authors Janet Lane and Jeff Griffiths noted that “there are 400,000 Canadian jobs looking for people, and more than 1.32 million Canadians looking for jobs. These unfilled jobs mean unnecessary unemployment, costs to individuals and communities, and lost productivity and profit for employers. One study estimated that skills gaps and mismatches in Ontario alone cost that economy $24.3 billion a year.” The Ontario government is acting to address this mismatch through the online skills training programs made available through eCampusOntario.
Ontario has one of the most highly educated and skilled workforces in the world, but graduates often face challenges landing their first job.
Over the next three years, eCampusOntario will work alongside the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) to explore and identify common skills gaps that persist through education into employment. We will also work with industry experts and employers to recognize the skills that students already possess — but may not be captured in their diploma or degree. Part of eCampusOntario’s work is to explore ways of capturing and surfacing transversal skills (teamwork, resilience) and professional skills (public speaking, data analysis) gained throughout a post-secondary learning experience. Whether this is by providing access to Lynda.com, through digital badging systems that certify work-oriented competencies, or through the work that is on-going in our own Student Experience Design Lab (SXD Lab), eCampusOntario is hard at work with our member institutions to ensure that students graduating from college or university are better prepared for the workforce.
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