Future Skills Centre Podcast

Podcast Series  |  Français

Canada is facing wide-reaching demographic and technological changes that pose increasingly significant challenges to the world of work. The Future Skills Centre Podcast, presented by The Conference Board of Canada, will explore these crucial emerging challenges to the future of work. In each episode, we will unpack a unique issue facing Canadians and hear from varying perspectives—such as community members, decision-makers, and thought leaders—to discuss solutions and paths forward.

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Focus Area—Education & Skills

Episode 6

Gig Economy and Independent Workers

The nature of jobs is changing, with the growth of the gig economy and more work in all fields being tasked to contract workers, freelancers, and the self-employed. These independent workers lack the social support net that full-time employees benefit from. What are some ways to bridge the “support gap” and ensure that people don’t fall between the cracks in these precarious job markets?

In our final episode of Season 1 of the Future Skills Centre podcast, we discuss this question and more with Armine Yalnizyan (Atkinson Fellow).

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Armine Yalnizyan

Armine Yalnizyan

Fellow on the Future of Workers
Atkinson Foundation

Episode 5

Bridging the Gap Between Education and Work—WIL

Canada ranks among the top countries in the world in terms of its rates of postsecondary education attainment as well as annual spending per postsecondary student. While a majority of education providers believe that our graduates are well-equipped for the workforce, a much lower proportion of students and employers share that belief.

This points to a disconnect between the education and work worlds, one that could be bridged by incorporating real-world or experiential work into students’ education. The Business + Higher Education Roundtable aims to do just that, by ensuring that 100% of Canadian postsecondary students participate in a form of work-integrated learning before graduation. In our fifth episode of Season 1 of the Future Skills Centre podcast, we speak to Valerie Walker (Business Higher + Education Roundtable), Matthew McKean (The Conference Board of Canada), and Kevin O’Meara (The Conference Board of Canada) to address some of these issues.

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Valerie Walker

Valerie Walker

CEO
Business + Higher Education Roundtable

Matthew McKean

Matthew McKean

Director, Education and Skills
The Conference Board of Canada

Kevin O’Meara

Kevin O’Meara

Research Assistant
The Conference Board of Canada

Episode 4

Upskilling and Reskilling (Mid-Career Workers)

Reskilling and upskilling are now imperative for both employees and organizations to keep pace with the digital and technological innovations that are changing the way we work. This is creating a new echelon of positions—those that require brand new skills and those that require an enhanced skillset.

Investing in reskilling and upskilling is critical at the organizational and individual level to ensure mutual preparedness and success in the new technology-driven world. But how can governments, organizations, and workers work together to ensure the right supports are being provided to those who need them most? In our fourth episode of Season 1 of the Future Skills Centre podcast, we speak to Glenda Quintini (OECD), Sashya D’Souza (Toronto Finance International), and Karn Singh (Cognizant) to answer some of these questions.

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Glenda Quintini

Glenda Quintini

Senior Economist
Skills and Employability Division
OECD

Sashya D’Souza

Sashya D’Souza

Senior Vice President, Talent Initiatives
Toronto Finance International

Karn Singh

Karn Singh

Director, Workforce Development
Cognizant

Episode 3

Skilled Trades: Transitioning to a Digital, Green, and Human Future

Apprenticeships get a bad rap. All too often, we perpetuate negative images of the trades: dirty, low pay, and boring. These stereotypes couldn’t be further from the reality of work—young people who pursue an apprentice-able trade should expect intellectually stimulating work, increasingly diverse workplaces, and significant opportunity for financial reward.

The knowledge and skills of our construction, manufacturing, automotive, and food service tradespeople can help support Canada’s transition to a more prosperous and sustainable future, but they will need resilience and teamwork to adapt to workplaces that are more efficient, automated, and digitally connected.

What emerging skills will tradespeople require to adapt to future work trends? How are emerging technologies changing what and how apprentices learn? Will traditional physical labour become a thing of the past, replaced by a need for digital, green, and social and emotional skills? In our third episode of Season 1 of the Future Skills Centre podcast, we discuss these questions with Andrew Bieler (The Conference Board of Canada), Jeff Ranson (Canada Green Building Council—GTA), and Jim Szautner (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology).

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Andrew Bieler

Andrew Bieler

Senior Research Associate
The Conference Board of Canada

Jeff Ranson

Jeff Ranson

Regional Director—Greater Toronto Area
Canada Green Building Council

Jim Szautner

Jim Szautner

Dean, School of Manufacturing and Automation, School of Transportation, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Episode 2

Addressing Inequalities in the Workforce

Driven by an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens, the Future Skills Centre recognizes the competitive advantage that comes from fostering innovative solutions which address the needs of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, including women, youth, newcomers, racialized minorities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and people from Indigenous, rural, remote, and northern communities.

Through authentic engagement with grassroots organizations and diverse communities across Canada, as well as the use of a strength-based and asset-focused perspective, knowledge and solutions are needed that shift the focus from just “fixing” job seekers to eroding systemic barriers to change our institutions, helping us build a more inclusive and equitable labour market. In our second episode of Season One of the Future Skills Centre podcast, we speak to Maya Roy (YWCA), Ed Ng (Bucknell University), and Jordan Wapass (The Conference Board of Canada) to take on some of these issues.

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Maya Roy

Maya Roy

CEO
YWCA Canada

Ed Ng

Ed Ng

James and Elizabeth Freeman Chair in Management
Bucknell University

Jordan Wapass

Jordan Wapass

Principal Research Associate
The Conference Board of Canada

Episode 1

Developing Social and Emotional Skills in an Automated World

We’ve all heard it before: Technology is disrupting the world of work, eliminating “low skill” jobs and harming the future of the trades. Daunting? Sure. But there’s also growing demand for a specific type of worker. One with the ability to problem solve, lead, collaborate, communicate, and adapt to the ever-evolving world of work. In other words, there is a growing demand for strong social and emotional skills. The problem is, there is a gap between the demand for these skills and the skills Canadians acquire through education and training.

So, what exactly are these social and emotional skills? Why are they needed and why are we behind? What are our post-secondary systems doing to prepare future employees, and how do we ensure Canadians can “keep up” with changing demands throughout their careers? In our first episode of Season 1 of the Future Skills Centre podcast, we start to answer these questions through conversations with Steve Higham (The Conference Board of Canada), Maria Giammarco (The Conference Board of Canada), Paul Brinkhurst (Futureworx), and Jennifer Adams (OECD).

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Stephen Higham

Steve Higham

Research Associate
The Conference Board of Canada

Maria Giammarco

Maria Giammarco

Senior Research Associate
The Conference Board of Canada

Paul Brinkhurst

Paul Brinkhurst

Innovations Developer
Futureworx

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams

Consultant and
President, Karanga

Trailer

Future Skills Centre Podcast

A podcast exploring some of the most crucial emerging challenges to the future of work, presented by The Conference Board of Canada.

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Heather McIntosh

Heather McIntosh

Associate Director
The Conference Board of Canada


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