Education & Skills

The Conference Board of Canada helps inform and improve Canada’s education and skills sectors. Through independent and collaborative evidence-based research and analysis, we examine and address key issues in the country’s fast-changing learning ecosystems. Our work provides leaders with the actionable insights they need to build a stronger future.

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Recent releases

Modelling Job Transitions in Canada

Employment in Canada is going to look different in the future. The types of education, abilities, skills, and experiences that employers seek are evolving amid a confluence of forces reshaping the nature of work around the world. Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, unmanned vehicles, and the Internet of Things, the growing share of knowledge-based services, and the rise of technology-enabled platforms will reshape careers.

Primer  |  20-min read
March 16, 2021

Tradespeople face triple threat of COVID, digitization and shifting economy

Despite significant disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, strong demand for skilled tradespeople persists across Canada. Ongoing demand means the talent development pipeline is more important than ever and Canada’s apprenticeship systems will need to adapt to labour market changes. The two top priorities are reducing barriers to digital learning for apprentices and integrating a stronger focus on social and emotional skills development throughout the apprenticeship pathway.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
February 5, 2021

Social and Emotional Skills Are Top of Mind Across Canada

When we asked people across Canada to identify the most important skills for career success, they overwhelmingly identified social and emotional skills (SES), like communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills, along with leadership and adaptability.

Summary for executives  |  4-min read
January 25, 2021

What Are Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions Saying and Doing?

Beyond what institutions are saying, we also wanted to understand what they are doing to develop student SES. Post-secondary activities that promote SES development fall into two categories: extra-curricular or embedded within programs and curricula. We scanned PSI program and departmental websites to find examples from across Canada.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
January 21, 2021

Working Students, Building Futures

To stay competitive in the wake of COVID-19, Canadian businesses will need talent with practical experience and future-relevant skills. One of the most promising ways to do this is by expanding access to work-integrated learning (WIL).

Online experience  |  8-min read
January 13, 2021

Construction site
Rising Skills in Canada

Industries are shifting to become more automated, connected, and diverse—with a heavy reliance on digital tools and platforms. These barriers need to be removed so Canadian tradespeople can easily upgrade their skills to be reflective of industry needs.

Online experience  |  3-min read
December 14, 2020

Students working together on a laptop
National Regional Sounding Tour: Report-back

In fall 2019 and spring 2020, The Conference Board of Canada on behalf of the Future Skills Centre spoke with 857 skills, training, and education stakeholders across Canada. The goal was to understand the challenges and opportunities facing different regions.

Report-back  |  4-min read
December 9, 2020
Focus Area—Education & Skills

Measuring social and emotional skills

The demand for social and emotional skills (SES) is growing. But few reliable tools are available to measure SES in adolescents and adults, and it can be difficult to figure out which existing tools are best. Also, there’s little consensus among researchers and practitioners on how to best define and measure SES.

Online experience  |  8-min read
November 10, 2020

Bridging Generational Divides: Advancing Digital Skills in Canada’s Apprenticeships and Skilled Trades Ecosystem

Tradespeople will need a range of new digital skills to keep pace with the future of work and to thrive in digitally connected workplaces. They will need them to operate computerized equipment, access blueprints on digital devices, and use digital diagnostic tools, among other tasks.

Impact paper  |  30-min read
September 15, 2020

Bridging Generational Divides: Digital Skills in the Trades

Tradespeople identified seven core 21st-century digital skills that are needed to adapt to the future of the trades. These skills require knowledge of digital tools and interact with both trade-specific technical knowledge and social/emotional skills, which evolve over a person’s lifespan.

Summary for executives  |  4-min read
September 15, 2020

If post-secondary institutions open, will students go?

Post-secondary education is built largely on a model of bringing people together—in classrooms and common spaces, libraries and labs—to socialize, share knowledge, and develop new skills.ke of COVID-19, Canadian businesses will need talent with practical experience and future-relevant skills. One of the most promising ways to do this is by expanding access to work-integrated learning (WIL).

Commentary  |  3-min read
June 11, 2020

The Future Is Social and Emotional: Evolving Skills Needs in the 21st Century

More and more, employers require new hires who possess not only specialized knowledge and technical skills, but also social and emotional or “human” skills.

Summary for executives  |  4-min read
April 29, 2020

The Future Is Social and Emotional

Demand for skilled employees is not new, but the skills considered “in demand” have evolved. While developing skills is a life long endeavour, the skills that Canadians learn through post-secondary training are key to workplace success. But demand for social and emotional skills (SES) is growing. Are we doing enough to prepare Canadians for the evolving workplace?

Online experience  |  8-min read
March 31, 2020

The Future Is Social and Emotional: Evolving Skills Needs in the 21st Century

The most in-demand skills for today’s and tomorrow’s labour market aren’t technical—they’re social and emotional. Academic research and industry surveys on skills needs indicate that social and emotional skills (SES), or human skills, are critical for employability and career success. But are Canada’s education and training systems doing enough to prepare students for work?

Impact paper  |  38-min read
March 31, 2020

Mergers, Affiliations, and Consortiums

Like marriages, mergers between post-secondary education (PSE) institutions typically involve two parties, with considerable planning before assets are legally combined. And, in both cases, it’s almost always easier to get in than out. In Canada, our institutions are seemingly reluctant to “take the plunge,” compared to peer countries.

Impact paper  |  52-min read
January 23, 2020

Building the Future of Apprenticeships in Canada

There’s a revolution happening in skilled trades. The revolution is being sparked by automation, low carbon economies, digitization, and other emerging work trends. These new technologies need skills that are not usually at the core of a trade school education.

Online experience  |  8-min read
January 13, 2020

Social & Emotional Skills in Business School

Understanding the issues and challenges facing business schools today.

Report  |  60-min read
December 5, 2018

Featured researcher

Elaine Lam

Elaine Lam

Chief of Research, Education & Inclusion

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