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Innovation with Robotics

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/17/2016 1471465700
FIRST Robotics Canada (a non-profit organization) is also currently working diligently and tirelessly to support and prepare the next generation to be .... Read more

FIRST Robotics Canada (a non-profit organization) is also currently working diligently and tirelessly to support and prepare the next generation to be innovators and thought-leaders of the future. Through FIRST programs and initiatives, students are becoming more skilled and prepared to face the challenges of the future. With a stronger connection and increased support, FIRST could play an even greater role in preparing the next generation to make Canada great.

“Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians. We need to move forward with fresh ideas and a joint action plan that will make innovation a national priority and put Canada on a firm path to long-term economic growth.” –The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

We at FIRST whole-heartedly agree with Minister Bains approach to innovation. We currently see a talent pool of kids and students who, if given the opportunity and know-how, will inherently approach problem solving with an innovative approach. Currently, youth are not widely given that opportunity which results in a lack of a prepared and innovative leaders and workforce.

This is where FIRST Robotics Canada programs make a difference. FIRST programs teach kids and youth the necessary skills and strategy that inspire fresh ideas, innovation, and creative problem solving. If more students are exposed to, and participate in, FIRST programs, they will cultivate the skills and habits for the future that lead to unlimited potential and opportunities. These are the leaders who will help put Canada on the firm path to economic growth and sustainability.

With increased support for FIRST programs, the benefits include:

  • More student participation in FIRST programs, resulting in more students prepared for a future where creative problem solving is critical
  • Cultivating a future workforce of leaders who believe in teamwork, encourage diversity, and inspire creativity 
  • Developing and teaching students the skills and know-how to embrace challenges with an innovative mindset
  • Showcasing and proving that we’re surrounded by talent who will have the competencies to compete in a digital world, lead global partnerships and change, encourage entrepreneurship, and accelerate growth in Canadian business
  • Increased collaboration between organizations and corporations involved in FIRST and kids and youth across Canada

This kind of program truly makes a difference in cultivating the leaders and innovators of the future.

Credit: FIRST Robotics Canada

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National youth STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship celebration event

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 06/30/2016 1467314950
Canadian high school students regularly achieve world-class results in international STEM competitions. In 2015 – and again in 2016 – youn .... Read more

Canadian high school students regularly achieve world-class results in international STEM competitions. In 2015 – and again in 2016 – young Canadians won the top award (and the US$75,000 cash prize) at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), topping 1,700 students from 75 countries. Canadians have won the Sanofi International Biogenius Challenge, FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships, and numerous STEM Olympiad competitions from astronomy to mathematics. Canadians have been top 15 finalists (from over 10,000 global entries) in the Google Science Fair almost every year since it began in 2011 – and won top awards in 2013 and 2014.

Most Canadians – and particularly our youth – are completely unaware. It’s as if our world junior hockey team won and no-one noticed. That doesn’t happen because Canada has a vibrant hockey culture. Thanks to Vancouver 2010 and Own the Podium, we’re developing an Olympic culture. But we need a STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship culture.

As in sports, a STEM culture needs heroes – rising stars that young Canadians recognize and emulate. When 16-year-old Victoria BC inventor Ann Makosinski appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show with her hand-heat-powered flashlight – and again a year later with a cell phone charging travel mug – kids noticed. Peltier tile-powered devices – many built by girls – appeared at science fairs across Canada. Building a science and innovation culture is no different to building a hockey or Olympic culture; celebrating excellence and achievement on the national stage and in the media is an essential component.

In 2010, U.S. President Obama initiated what became an annual tradition – the White House Science Fair. Over the past six years, this event has celebrated the winners of a broad range of youth STEM and entrepreneurship competitions at what the President has called, “the most fun day of the year.”

I propose creating an annual event, hosted on Parliament Hill, to recognize Canadian winners of national and international youth STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship competitions and other young Canadian achievers. They would be invited to share their work with the Prime Minister / Minister of Youth, Minister of Science, Key Opinion Leaders, STEM-related government officials, and most importantly, the media.

Most kids aren’t going to become professional or Olympic athletes, but wanting to inspires and motivates. Let’s celebrate Canada’s youth STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship heroes and role models.

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National youth STEM and innovation development system - like hockey

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/02/2016 1467490212
Studies over the past 15 years have shown that about two-thirds of Canadian kids ages 12-18 think STEM is important, interesting, and fun. Canadian st .... Read more

Studies over the past 15 years have shown that about two-thirds of Canadian kids ages 12-18 think STEM is important, interesting, and fun. Canadian students rank in the top 10 of 65 OECD countries on international tests of science achievement. Our kids like, and are good at STEM.

Yet, despite this potential, only about 30% of Canadian high school students take STEM courses after grade 10, limiting their access to opportunities in STEM-related fields. No surprise that in 2014 the Canadian Council of Academies (CCA) reported that Canada’s total employment in STEM occupations was just 30% – 22nd out of 37 countries. Do our kids just lose interest in high school? Perhaps, but then how do we explain that 93% of Canadian adults are very or moderately interested in new scientific discoveries and technological developments (1st out of 33 countries), or that 32% visited a science centre/museum in the previous year (2nd out of 39 countries) – according to the same CCA report.

We’re good at getting Canadian kids interested in STEM. Over 100 organizations and institutions, from local to national, offer school presentations, workshops, camps, experiences, challenges, and competitions. They reach a huge number of students, but the percentage of high school students taking STEM courses has remained stubbornly around 30% for years. Canada has no lack of STEM promotion programs – we lack a national strategy and coordination.

PromoScience, through NSERC, provides federal funding for many of these programs – $4.8M over 3 years to 43 organizations in 2015. Grants are awarded through a peer-review process; however, there’s no analysis for redundancy, imbalances, and gaps – or even a program inventory to analyze. As a result, there’s no strategy underlying this funding, or benchmarks to measure progress; the best-written proposals get funded.

Canada produces great hockey players – and now Olympic athletes – because we have a development system. It starts by getting lots of young kids participating for fun. From there, those with ability and passion (and/or ‘enthusiastic’ parents) progress through a series of levels that build skills and identify top prospects. Canada has lots of Timbits-type STEM programs, but no system to guide those kids or parents when they ask, “What’s next?”

I propose that Canada build on its excellent STEM promotion capacity to establish a national youth STEM and innovation development system, similar to those for sports, to cultivate not only interest and excitement, but engagement, skills, and excellence. A national youth STEM and innovation advisory panel – leaders from the national youth STEM and innovation organizations; representatives of regional, provincial, and local organizations; and young Canadians – should be appointed to guide the process. They would start by building a national inventory of programs and then analyze to identify systemic strengths and weaknesses, recommend targets, and evaluate progress.

If we’re serious about developing youth with skills for the future economy, let’s get Canada’s youth STEM promotion organizations working together, rather than competing with each other for funding and profile. It works for hockey.

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National Youth Science and Innovation Network

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/27/2016 1469642783
Stimulating interest in and supporting a national network for youth to explore hands-on, project-based science. Canada's response to the technologica .... Read more

Stimulating interest in and supporting a national network for youth to explore hands-on, project-based science.

Canada's response to the technological and space race in the 1960s was the development of local, regional and national opportunities to foster and showcase the innovativeness of youth in science - science fairs. Over five decades, this network - primarily driven by volunteers and teachers - has helped develop some of Canada's (and the world's) leaders in business, research, science and social impact. From Roberta Bondar to Michael Serbinis to Marc Kielburger to Raymond Wang, science fairs have helped shape the impact Canada has on the world.

Investing in a proven program that encourages youth from curiosity through to discovery will ensure Canada's success in innovation, skills development and will creates the nation's future economic leaders.

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Ensure Canada's youth are equipped with the right skills

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/02/2016 1472844698
Tags: digital  skills  education  youth 
Coding and the underlying computational thinking, critical thinking and problem solving skills are crucial components of innovation and entrepreneursh .... Read more

Coding and the underlying computational thinking, critical thinking and problem solving skills are crucial components of innovation and entrepreneurship but these skills aren't being taught in school.  That needs to change. "

Canada's youth are the entrepreneurs and innovators of the future and critical to the Canadian economy. We need to ensure they are equipped with the skills they need to successfully start, grow and nurture the jobs of the future.  And, we need all youth to have equal access -- that includes young women and other historically underrepresented groups."

Melissa Sariffodeen, Co-Founder + CEO at Ladies Learning Code

Melissa Sariffodeen, Young Women: The Key to Unlocking #CDNInnovation, LadiesLearningCode.com. September 1 2016

Credit: Melissa Sariffodeen, LadiesLearningCode.com

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What does it take for Canada to be known globally as the best country in attracting and developing diverse, high-end talent?

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 09/29/2016 1475179612
Numerous studies have shown the positive relationship between immigration and innovation. Immigrants bring with them specialized skills and experience .... Read more

Numerous studies have shown the positive relationship between immigration and innovation. Immigrants bring with them specialized skills and experience, diverse perspectives, international relationships and networks, and an entrepreneurial spirit. With an aging population and low birth rates, Canada will increasingly rely on immigration to ensure our labour market needs are met in the future. CPA Canada’s own internal occupational demand analysis shows this to be true for our profession.

 

We face competition for the best and the brightest. If we are to be competitive as a destination of choice, we must do a better job of attracting talent, smoothing the integration of newcomers into the workforce and providing them with the best opportunity to succeed. We must also do a better job of processing applications with speed and certainty.

 

CPA Canada has provided more specific input to this matter in our submission to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s recent online consultation, a National Conversation on Immigration.[1] Several key points are worth expanding upon in the context of Canada’s innovation agenda.

 

The Express Entry system of managing the economic class immigration streams would benefit from further refinement. Three reforms in particular are worth consideration: a re-examination of the emphasis on youth; replacing Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs); and supporting the role of international students in meeting labour market needs.

 

Age is one of the criteria for awarding points in the comprehensive ranking system for Express Entry applications. Generally, it makes sense to award a greater number of points for youth – as the point structure does – because younger immigrants have more years to contribute to Canada’s labour market. However, some highly specialized skills or executive-level experience can only be acquired through experience over time. The point system as currently structured unintentionally penalizes senior business executives and specialists for their wealth of experience. It also penalizes Canadian employers who need to fill particular niche roles for which suitable candidates are scarce.

 

This is particularly important when it comes to one of Canada’s biggest innovation challenges: our struggles to grow firms to a larger scale. A 2016 study by the Lazaridis Institute examined the barriers faced by high-growth Canadian technology firms and concluded that the biggest challenge was a lack of experienced management and executive talent. In particular, respondents indicated a shortfall of executives with first-hand experience scaling up technology firms.[2] Canadian firms need access to a deeper talent pool than the country’s labour supply is able to provide. Age should not preclude skilled managerial talent from consideration.

 

 

A central purpose behind Express Entry was to make Canada’s economic class immigration streams more responsive to labour market needs by enabling employer demand to directly impact the selection of immigrants. As such, the offer of employment from a Canadian employer is a significant component of the Express Entry point structure. But as a report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce illustrated, by making that offer of employment contingent on a positive LMIA, the demand-driven thrust of Express Entry has been negated by what is essentially a protectionist labour market test.[3]

 

The Chamber makes a well-reasoned argument to replace the LMIA, to which we will just add that the LMIA requirement adds further time, administrative compliance and uncertainty to the Express Entry application process. The resulting delays and uncertainty are felt by both Canadian employers and prospective immigrants. The most sought-after international talent has options, and delays and uncertainty in the application process make Canada less competitive.

 

International students enrich the learning environment in Canada’s education institutions and make a substantial contribution to our economy in the process. There are sound economic reasons why Canada should position itself as the destination of choice for international students. Similarly, there are good reasons why we should look to these international students as potential future Canadians. No immigrants are better poised for success in Canada’s labour market than those who already possess a Canadian education, a comfort with Canadian society, and perhaps Canadian work experience.

 

But once again, Express Entry has minimized the opportunities for this talent pool, or at least created more uncertainty than before the system was introduced. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) had been a convenient and successful pathway for international students to pursue immigration to Canada. In fact, in recent years, the Canadian government had set ambitious targets for CEC in order to maximize the number of international students who chose to stay. Since CEC is one of the economic class immigration programs subject to Express Entry, international students must now be ranked based on the Express Entry point system and compete with other potential immigrants. Their Canadian education and experience does not necessarily have any additional value under the point system.

 

Express Entry’s impact on CEC may make Canada a less desirable destination for international students in the first place. There should not be any guarantees of permanent residency offered to international students who come to Canada. However, at the same time, students should be able to realistically assess their chances of staying should they want to do so. Express Entry’s point system presents a rather cloudy view, and if other international students are less successful in pursuing immigration (as early Express Entry results suggest), then Canada may appear a less attractive choice for their studies. Once again, it is a matter of competition. The best and brightest international students will choose to go to the countries that offer the best educational opportunities along with the best long-term career prospects.

 

 

Recommendations:

 

  • Re-evaluate the points awarded for age under Express Entry to ensure that Canadian employers are not denied access to international talent with highly valued skills and experience.
  • Consider replacing the Labour Market Impact Assessment under Express Entry. If it is necessary to have a labour market test or validation of a legitimate job offer, ensure that the process is fast, efficient and clear.
  • If the Canadian Experience Class must be subject to the Express Entry points system, ensure that a Canadian education and experience is valued as it is in the Canadian marketplace.

 

How do we work together to better equip our young people with the right skill sets for the economy of the future?     

 

Much emphasis is placed on the need for Canada to graduate more students from the so-called STEM fields of study – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Certainly these fields are critical for an innovation-driven economy. But just as important is the need for business graduates that have a sophisticated understanding of how to grow businesses through each stage of development, how to pursue opportunities in Canada and abroad, and how to anticipate and adapt to change.

 

An expert panel struck by the Council of Canadian Academies noted that STEM skills are not sufficient on their own to ensure improvements in innovation, productivity or growth. “Other skills such as leadership, creativity, adaptability, and entrepreneurial ability may be required to maximize the impact of STEM skills,” their report stated.[4]

 

The Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity measured the specific shortfall in business skills finding that, when compared to the United States, Canada has a significant gap in the number of business degree holders. “More alarming is the lower educational attainment of those in management occupations, irrespective of field of study. Just over a third of our managers have a university degree, compared to half in the United States,” the institute warned.[5]

 

The OECD has also noted that Canada lags its peers in the development of business and entrepreneurial skills. In addition, it identified another reason to emphasize the importance of management talent – Canadians’ perceived aversion to risk and the contribution that makes to the country’s commercialization gap. It suggests that more management training and higher education in general would help to address that problem:

The best way to stimulate willingness to take risk may be to boost competitive pressures and openness … and to complement this by enhanced attention to management training and diversity at all educational levels. More tertiary education in general is also needed … Canada still lags in attainment of university degrees, whereas highly educated persons are much more likely to be owners of high-growth innovative firms.[6]

 

In addition to developing managerial talent, we need to do a better job of instilling basic business skills in graduates of all fields. The STEM graduates who may create the products, processes and services of the future, would benefit greatly from a fundamental understanding of how to commercialize their ideas and take them successfully to market. Yet interdisciplinary studies are often discouraged or even prevented. In some cases, spaces in business classes are reserved for students in business programs, making them unavailable to students in science faculties. On the other hand, students in STEM fields may believe that focusing their studies as narrowly as possible gives them greater expertise and enhances their employability.

 

The OECD recommends that post-secondary education institutions include training in entrepreneurship and business skills in their science-based programs, a recommendation we endorse. Greater awareness also needs to be generated regarding the business training resources that exist beyond post-secondary institutions, such as those provided by the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT).

 

Business-oriented financial literacy programs can also improve basic awareness of business skills. In fact, CPA Canada and thousands of CPA volunteers deliver a range of financial literacy programs to Canadians each year. Some of those programs are targeted to entrepreneurs or operators of SMEs to provide some of the essential knowledge and skills for operating a business.

 

By promoting a general understanding of business and removing barriers to interdisciplinary studies, we would develop a more entrepreneurial, adaptable and innovative workforce. The possession of specialized knowledge or skills along with an understanding of how to apply them in a business environment is a combination that should be encouraged.

 

Recommendations:

  • Ensure that Canada’s business schools are producing the sophisticated business managers needed to start, lead and grow firms into successful global players.
  • Encourage more interdisciplinary study in post-secondary education to enable innovators and inventors to also have a fundamental understanding of business, finance and entrepreneurialism.

 

[1] To be available on CPA Canada’s website at cpacanada.ca.

[2] Lazaridis Institute, Scaling Success: Tackling the Management Gap in Canada’s Technology Sector, Wilfred Laurier University, March 2016.

[3] Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent is at Risk, January 2016.

[4] Council of Canadian Academies, 2015, Some Assembly Required: STEM Skills and Canada’s Economic Productivity, Ottawa: The Expert Panel on STEM Skills for the Future, Council of Canadian Academies.

[5] Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, Canada’s Innovation Imperative: Report on Canada 2011.

[6] Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2012), OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2012, OECD Publishing.

Credit: Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

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Young entrepreneurs

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 06/23/2016 1466687569
Today's youth 10-18 have grown up with technology in their hands.  We need Canadian youth to be producers of this technology not just mere consumers. .... Read more

Today's youth 10-18 have grown up with technology in their hands.  We need Canadian youth to be producers of this technology not just mere consumers.  They need to be attracted and given the rights skills to become problem-solvers using technology.

There is evidence that this is working with Canadian success stories.  Two years ago a team of five girls from the University of Calgary won the prize for innovation in the world's largest tech entrepreneurship contest Technovation. Other cities have also participated:  Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver etc.

This early exposure to critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills and entrepreneurial skills to address local problems with technology is key for today's youth especially young girls, so that they feel empowered to be part of this innovative society we live in and contribute to diverse solutions.

My recommendation is to offer this three-month program - Technovation - (as an optional/spare course) in every school in every city and town and community centre and library so that young women today become tomorrow's innovators. 

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Youth Incubator For Technology Ideas

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 06/24/2016 1466783862
Tags: technology  youth 
From High School kids should be part of hands on skilled base training where they can bring their ideas to life.  Develop courses, training programs .... Read more

From High School kids should be part of hands on skilled base training where they can bring their ideas to life. 

Develop courses, training programs and physical space where their ideas and skills can be groomed and turned into life changes solutions and products. 

In Canada we have failed to develop the Intellectual Property market. In US they got Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and alot of other companies. 

If our youth is equipped with the right tools at the right time, we can be the next Silicon Valley. 

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National Innovation Voucher Program - Students Gain Experience in Startups

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/20/2016 1469030961
Take great provincial examples like BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program and create a nati .... Read more

Take great provincial examples like BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program and create a national effort to supply students with applied knowledge and skills through working directly in startups/SMB environment. At the same time ,you will be building stronger linkages with businesses, universities, colleges and research organizations and exposure to entrepreneurship career stream.

Provinces that already have programs in place will maintain their inter-province competitive advantage and either expand scope and eligibility of students and firms. They could also have the option of providing voucher for ICT skills development of existing employees like the B.C Micro Business Training (MBT) Program.

Federal government can have the oversight to ensure all provinces all equipped at a high standard and the provinces can choose to expand scope of program or eligibility to differentiate themselves in the clusters they have deemed a priority.

Links to examples below:

http://bcic.ca/programs_initiatives/current/bcic-innovator-skills-initiative/

https://innovacorp.ca/acceleration-initiatives/productivity-and-innovation-voucher-program

https://www.linkedin.com/company/micro-business-training-pilot-program

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National Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/28/2016 1469705082
Tags: innovation  skills  youth 
Canada as a nation requires a workforce that is capable of generating innovative solutions to problems through collaboration, communication, critical .... Read more

Canada as a nation requires a workforce that is capable of generating innovative solutions to problems through collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. There has been over a decade of research, books, papers, and videos about how the education system does not prepare our youth for the future and there are suggestions for areas of focus, but what we need now is an action-oriented implementation program. The desire for change and the ability to implement a strategy exists.  The most efficient approach to achieve this goal is to tap into the human resources that exist and to use these resources to provide learning experiences that foster essential skills. 

The path to developing the “right skills” rests heavily in Science, Technology and Innovation education.  There is a comprehensive coast-to-coast network of informal learning in Canada through Science Centres and organizations such as Let’s Talk Science, ACTUA, and Youth Science Canada. Independently they do amazing work; collectively, with a strong support system, they could change the country! Currently, no national coordinating body exists for the extensive informal network; a network that is able to come from outside the provincial education systems and act as a vehicle for change inside the systems. Almost all the G7 countries have such a body.

To begin, we need to create a National Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation that supports in-school and out-of-school informal and innovative learning practices. The foundation can provide a coordinated effort through which a fundamental transformation of Education will occur. The proposed budget for the foundation could be based on the number of school aged children in our schools at a level of $2/child. The investment would be made available to all informal STEM education organizations that reach Canadian youth. Collaboration with each Province would ensure that the program addresses their priority areas. It will be important for the “national coordinating body” to develop clear objectives linked with the development of 21st century skills.

Equipping our youth with the right skills will require a concerted effort by all levels of government, organizations, schools, and individuals. Creating the National Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation would be a big step in achieving these objectives.

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Four Ideas to Grow Innovative Talent

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/12/2016 1471029760
Canada needs a talent strategy for growth. Within our publicly-funded post-secondary institutions, we need to focus federal supports to produce &ldquo .... Read more

Canada needs a talent strategy for growth. Within our publicly-funded post-secondary institutions, we need to focus federal supports to produce “made-in-Canada” talent: the highly qualified and skilled workers that Canadian businesses and organizations seek.  Without better labour market forecasting, Canada cannot build an inclusive talent pool for the 21st century workplace.  We present four ideas below:

  1. Direct Statistics Canada to create, deliver and disseminate high-quality, current, relevant and comparable labour market information.

This information will benefit learners and employers and encourage informed choices about careers and jobs by providing data on skills-in-demand, employment outcomes by education type, demand for work-integrated learning, apprenticeship completion rates

2. Create a Youth Entrepreneur Seed Fund to support students enrolled in post-secondary institutions to acquire vital entrepreneurial skills.

Polytechnics and colleges offer many services, courses and centres to help young entrepreneurs. Current federal support for young entrepreneurs exists as repayable loans only; we propose a grant program for students working under the guidance of an instructor or mentor.

3. Create an innovation-focused internship program connecting polytechnic and college undergraduate students with firms and non-profit organizations.

This work-integrated learning initiative will build applied research and innovation skills, as well as enhance graduate employment outcomes, while also addressing employer need for workers with innovation skills.

4. Expand existing research talent programs at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to increase participation by polytechnic and college students.

Evidence shows that real-world research is conducted by collaborative teams, across the credential spectrum. Yet, programs designed to mentor the next generation of researchers are primarily open to graduate and post-doctoral researchers because of a narrow interpretation of terms and conditions. These programs should include the talent produced by polytechnics and colleges.

A polytechnic education builds resilient and resourceful workers for the 21st century economy.  These talented learners should be included in any government action for equipping youth with entrepreneurial and creative skills.

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Incentives for innovation should not be based on the size of a company but on youthful start-ups.

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/16/2016 1471368739
Tags: innovation  youth 
“Incentives for innovation should not be based on the size of a company but on youthful start-ups, it said. It is through start-ups that radical .... Read more

“Incentives for innovation should not be based on the size of a company but on youthful start-ups, it said. It is through start-ups that radical innovation and increased competitiveness is achieved, not through small businesses as such, and Canada has among the lowest start-up rates among the advanced economies.

David Crane, a Toronto-based writer on economic, political, and environment issues.

IMF, OECD say feds' innovation plans on wrong track, Hill Times, June 20 2016

 

 

Credit: David Crane, a Toronto-based writer on economic, political, and environment issues.

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Celebrate successful business and challenge current model.

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/16/2016 1471370097
Tags: youth 
If we're going to become a nation where every Canadian is "innovation-ready", we're going to have to get a lot more comfortable with our tall poppies .... Read more

If we're going to become a nation where every Canadian is "innovation-ready", we're going to have to get a lot more comfortable with our tall poppies and learn to celebrate them. We're also going to have to start figuring out what is means to be both Canadian and ambitious and bold. We can start to do this by encouraging the next generation of Canadians to embody what author Jon Savage argues in his book Teenager is the true task of the young: challenging the agendas of adults

Ilona Dougherty, Columnist, Canada to accelerate immigration to further innovation agenda, Globe and Mail, June 15 2016

Credit: Ilona Dougherty, Columnist

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Developing and practicing innovation skills through applied research

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/31/2016 1472657255
For Canada’s future workforce to have the capacity to innovate, we must equip them with the necessary skills and provide them meaningful opportu .... Read more

For Canada’s future workforce to have the capacity to innovate, we must equip them with the necessary skills and provide them meaningful opportunities to practice them. Like many Canadian colleges and polytechnics, George Brown College offers students applied research opportunities in curriculum or as part-time employment where they work directly with industry to find solutions to their innovation challenges. 

Not only do these opportunities provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience and enhance their skills in their area of study, but they provide students with marketable workplace skills and innovation literacy, that is, the ability to think creatively and apply problem solving skills to diverse and intangible issues within industrial problems and contexts. Innovation literacy is a transferable skill that enables students to be flexible innovators in the workforce. Since 2008, George Brown College has enabled 724 applied research partnerships that have provided 7,592 student applied research experiences and opportunities to develop these skills.

No one personifies the ideal applied research experience more than John-Allan Ellingson, a 2014 graduate of George Brown College’s Mechanical Engineering Design program and 2012 graduate of the CNC/Precision Machining program. Early in his studies, John-Allan chose to participate as a student research intern on a long-term project with SOS Customer Service to design, prototype and test a novel, lightweight and portable crane to lift curtain wall panels into place for installation during construction of low-rise commercial and residential buildings. This work won him 2nd place at the 2013 Polytechnics Canada Student Applied Research Showcase and catalyzed his engagement in applied research. In his tenure at the College, he helped 7 companies in sectors as diverse as food, construction and aerospace to develop and improve their products. He proudly shared his work and experiences by representing the College at the Conference Board of Canada’s 2013 Business Innovation Summit and OCE Discovery 2013. John-Allan also served as the 2013-2014 Student Innovation Advisor for George Brown College’s Innovation Advisory Board, a multi-sectoral industry, entrepreneurial, and academic stakeholder group that provides a current and effective link between the Research and Innovation office at George Brown College and the key sectors it serves. In recognition of his contributions and achievements in applied research, John-Allan was awarded the Student Innovation Award in 2013 and the inaugural Excellence in Research and Innovation digital badge in 2014. He credits his applied research experiences at George Brown for teaching him how to identify the business opportunities that lie beneath challenges, demystifying and changing his perception of entrepreneurship to a pathway for guiding skills from the classroom and shop to bring prototyped solutions towards further development and the market, and showing him how to draw parallels between vastly different sectors to find unique solutions in the most unlikely places.

John-Allan has since gone on to enroll in a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at Lakehead University and will soon enter the Canadian workforce with not only theoretical and applied training in his field of study, but also research problem solving, leadership and entrepreneurship skills and the ability to recognize innovation in the product development life-cycle.

It is our goal to provide all students with opportunities to develop and practice these in-demand workplace skills. We are calling on the government to enhance its funding for the programs that support these applied research opportunities at colleges and polytechnics so that we can equip students with the innovation skills that will drive Canada’s future productivity.

Credit: George Brown College Research & Innovation

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Nurturing and entrepreneurial mindset with peer to peer learning

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/31/2016 1472657406
One way to nurture and entrepreneurial and innovative skillset and mindset in today’s youth is to provide students at all levels with the opport .... Read more

One way to nurture and entrepreneurial and innovative skillset and mindset in today’s youth is to provide students at all levels with the opportunity to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams on entrepreneurial endeavors. At George Brown College we facilitate with through Peer to Peer (P2P) learning.

startGBC, your gateway to entrepreneurship at George Brown College is a virtual hub, connecting entrepreneurial students, alumni and faculty to the resources they need.  We have matched startGBC student entrepreneurs with business, design and engineering students who act as consultants on matters such as positioning, product design and prototyping, market research, customer validation, pricing, etc.  Both sides of the transaction benefit as the student entrepreneurs gain valuable insights and recommendations from their peers and the consulting students experience working with real-life customers, products and solutions rather than generic case studies.  They are also able to add this background to their resumes and to speak knowledgably about their consulting experience during interviews with prospective employers.

At George Brown, we have received excellent feedback from both faculty and students, and we plan to expand the P2P model, with the addition of student “subject matter experts”, from areas like culinary management and health sciences.

Credit: George Brown College Research & Innovation

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Spur more startups in schools

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/02/2016 1472844424
Tags: education  youth 
"If our vision is that every Canadian, as they go through high school and university or college, has access to entrepreneurial training, we just need .... Read more

"If our vision is that every Canadian, as they go through high school and university or college, has access to entrepreneurial training, we just need to be innovative in how we deploy that education. So organizations like Ladies Learning Code are a great way of creating accessible programming outside of the (public education) system.”

 

Spur more startups in schools, Minister Bains told on innovation tour stop. ITbusiness.ca.  September 1, 2016.

Credit: Victoria Lennox, ITbusiness.ca

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There should be a push for innovation at a middle school level

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/02/2016 1472844806
Tags: education  youth  women 
The girls and youth I mentor are in middle school or early university, and it's very difficult to find programs. We see a lot of support in university .... Read more

The girls and youth I mentor are in middle school or early university, and it's very difficult to find programs. We see a lot of support in university where there are startup incubators, but there's very little support for high school and middle school. There should be a push for innovation at a middle school level."

Sage Franch, Trendy Techie founder

Sage Franch, Young entrepreneurs tell Minister Bains education, talent are biggest barriers to success. BetaKit.com. September 1, 2016.

Credit: Sage Franch, BetaKit.com

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Youth

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/21/2016 1474471576
Tags: youth 
-Young people need to be involved in science; we must create initiatives for students to participate and become better innovators. Have Universities i .... Read more

-Young people need to be involved in science; we must create initiatives for students to participate and become better innovators. Have Universities involved with communities to tap into and cultivate youth’s knowledge. Build research centres. Smart kids are falling off the map due to lack of programs.

-When students leave their reserve for education they typically do not return; we need better motivators to have young indigenous graduates return home and invest in their communities.

Credit: Indigenous Roundtable hosted by MP Don Rusnak

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Promote experiential learning opportunities for students.

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 09/28/2016 1475077911
The best way to ensure more innovation, and resultant economic and social benefits, is to foster the development of more innovators. One effective way .... Read more

The best way to ensure more innovation, and resultant economic and social benefits, is to foster the development of more innovators. One effective way to do this is to provide post-secondary students with real-world experiential learning opportunities throughout the course of their studies. This includes co-operative programs, internships, and course work experiential opportunities.

The Federal support for programs like MITACS should be expanded to increase the opportunities for students in all areas of the country and from all academic backgrounds, working in all sectors of the Canadian economy.

Credit: Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Fostering Innovation from Non-Traditional Sources

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477536302
In a true innovative culture, innovation can and does come from many different sources.  Some may be traditional established companies or university .... Read more

In a true innovative culture, innovation can and does come from many different sources.  Some may be traditional established companies or university researchers, but in the modern age where access to information and ease of networking, collaborating and sharing of ideas have never been greater and “crowdsourcing” is increasingly becoming common, significant innovation is also being driven outside of these traditional sources.  Small startups, individual entrepreneurs, researchers and hobbyists, private collectives of innovators such as “hacker spaces”, and student teams and organizations are all filled with highly talented people and highly original ideas.  Moreover, these small, non-traditional innovators are typically much more nimble and have far less overhead than their larger, more established counterparts and as such can do “more with less”. 

Moreover, their work serves not only as a potential source of commercially viable products, technologies and future companies, but also as a direct, hands-on means of fostering learning, skills development and creativity that is invaluable in helping those who engage in it to reach their full potential as innovators and contributors to the creative economy.

To truly foster a culture of innovation, the government and its agencies should actively strive to make Canada among the most favourable countries in the world for this rapidly growing group of innovators.  The government should make it policy to recognize the existence of these small, non-traditional innovative groups and individuals as potentially valuable sources of both innovation and hands-on skills development, and ensure that support is specifically available to them that recognizes and is responsive to their unique needs, capabilities and situation, rather than being solely available to or heavily biased towards larger established companies and universities only. Such support may take the form of grants or funding, but could also include tax incentives, access to government facilities and government experts.

Not all innovators are the same, and the needs and abilities of individual or small groups of innovators are inherently different from those of large organizations, established companies and universities.  By ensuring support is specifically available to individuals and small groups engaged in innovative work, this large and growing source of innovation can be encouraged.

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Ensuring that SMEs Have Access to Skilled Employees and Encouraging the Next Generation of Innovators

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 11/04/2016 1478282522
Skilled labour remains the top concern of SMEs looking to innovate. As significant funds are already being invested in post-secondary institutions, go .... Read more

Skilled labour remains the top concern of SMEs looking to innovate. As significant funds are already being invested in post-secondary institutions, governments must ensure that these investments translate into actual results for small businesses. The focus should remain on job-ready graduates who are able to fill labour gaps across sectors of the economy.

  • Work with the provinces to reform the education system to improve basic skills training, including building job-readiness skills, and to reach out more to the small business community when creating curriculums;
  • Better co-operation and coordination with other levels of government, as well as post-secondary institutions, to focus funding on programs linked to the employment market;
  • Better communication by governments with small business owners on which programs and services that may be able to assist with training in their business.
  • Review existing tax credit programs to promote hiring and retention, and introduce new tax credits such as an EI training credit or EI holiday for youth hiring that recognize the investment in both formal and informal training made by small employers when they expand their payroll;
  • Recognize the importance of informal training in small businesses by designing a federal training tax credit based on existing government reporting and filing requirements, such as payroll-based EI;

* For full list of recommendations, see attached CFIB report on SMEs and innovation, Beyond the Big Idea: Redefining and Rethinking the Innovation Agenda 

 

Credit: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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Build a learning framework for STEM education - Canada 2067

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 11/15/2016 1479225940
Seventy per cent of the top jobs in Canada today require some STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills – and this number i .... Read more

Seventy per cent of the top jobs in Canada today require some STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills – and this number is growing every year. That said, less than half of Canadian high school students graduate with senior level science and math courses and only one in five graduate with the prerequisites to pursue engineering.

At Let’s Talk Science, we are committed to helping youth build the competencies they need to become innovators, critical thinkers and problem solvers ready to meet the challenges of an increasingly demanding economy through education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

STEM learning builds competencies and characteristics that are needed for all jobs – things like critical thinking, problem solving, information management, positive risk taking, resiliency, effective communication and more. As the world rapidly changes, work and citizenship demands will require greater capacity in STEM.

Canada 2067 is our bold new nation-building initiative that will bring Canadians together to develop a STEM learning framework.

With Canada 2067, we are calling on Canadians to join the conversation on STEM education by visiting http://canada2067.ca and filling out our online learning framework questionnaire.

The contributions of Canadians through this initiative will contribute to a STEM learning framework for the next 50 years – and will help us to evolve and strengthen Canada’s education model for the 21st century by enhancing student exposure and access to the STEM disciplines across all levels and areas of learning.

Together, we’ll make sure Canadian youth have the skills they need to face the future with confidence.

 

About Let’s Talk Science: Let's Talk Science is an award-winning national, charitable organization. Over the past twenty years, we have worked with educators to support learning and skill development. We’ve developed hands-on programs for Kindergarten to Grade 12 youth to get them interested in STEM at an early age and keep them engaged as they move through high school. Our goal is to motivate and empower youth to fulfill their potential and prepare for their future careers and roles as citizens.

Credit: Let's Talk Science, Canada 2067

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