This University of Toronto initiative brings together academic researchers and partner organizations to assess how training, education, and public policies should respond to the changing nature of work in an era marked by disruptive technologies. Learn more
Future Skills research to be published in top Canadian policy journal
This article provides a critical assessment of the Canadian government’s response to technology-based labour market disruption. It will soon be published in the academic periodical Canadian Public Policy, but you can read an advanced copy below.
As of 2019, FutureSkills has been awarded multi-year funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to pursue our research initiatives.
SSHRC Insight Grant
Our funded plan focuses on one of SSHRC’s future challenge areas: how to help Canadian citizens thrive in an evolving society and labour market through new ways of learning.
With this funding we plan to: expand our research on ALMPs (active labour market policies) in Canada; interrogate the efficacy of co-op, internship, and other workplace-integrated sources of training; examine best practices in online-assisted learning; collect and assess varying definitions of ‘21st century skills’; and turn a critical lens on market-based educational pedagogy.
SSHRC Partnership Development Grant
This grant allow us to deepen established partnerships with a number of educational, post-secondary, and personnel support services involved in the education and training of current and future workers.
Bringing these diverse organizations together will provide a more nuanced, ‘big picture’ idea on how best to prepare for the future of work. Namely, the partnerships allow for the collection of data and program-evaluation information related to a wide range of individuals across many time periods in the life cycle.
Articles of Interest
Current upheavals in the labour market are fueling ever-increasing media attention on how we’re preparing for the future of work.
In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure
From the New York Times: “… although liberal arts majors start slow, they gradually catch up to their peers in STEM fields. This is by design. A liberal arts education fosters valuable “soft skills” like problem-solving, critical thinking and adaptability. Such skills are hard to quantify, and they don’t create clean pathways to high-paying first jobs. But they have long-run value in a wide variety of careers.”
aRE rOBOTS cOMING FOR YOUR jOB?
From The New Yorker: “How can you know if you’re about to get replaced by an invading algorithm or an augmented immigrant? “If your job can be easily explained, it can be automated,” Anders Sandberg, of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, tells Oppenheimer. “If it can’t, it won’t.” (Rotten luck for people whose job description is “Predict the future.”) Baldwin offers three-part advice: (1) avoid competing with A.I. and R.I.; (2) build skills in things that only humans can do, in person; and (3) “realize that humanity is an edge not a handicap.”
The biggest threat to Canada’s universities? The empathy gap
From The Globe and Mail: "While responding to industry needs, we must resist the idea that universities must simply train individuals for jobs that directly correlate with their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Translational skills are equally essential. Artists have always been out-of-the-box inventors of technologies and new social systems..”