Program will bolster data and AI skills for diploma and degree students

Microsoft Canada and 12 post-secondary institutions recently announced the Canada Skills Program.

The program launches this fall and will provide opportunities for students to graduate with digital skills such as data analytics and artificial intelligence. These skills are in high demand especially amid the economy’s digital shift during COVID-19.

The Canada Skills program provides opportunities for students to acquire in-demand digital skills and certifications enabling them to graduate with both a Microsoft certification, as well as their institution’s credential. This is phase one of the program; Microsoft will continue to expand to additional institutions and provinces, with the goal of reaching students across Canada.

“The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation at unimaginable rates, making skills in cloud, data and AI more important than ever,” said Kevin Peesker, President, Microsoft Canada. “Microsoft developed the Canada Skills Program to help strengthen the innovation economy by building a talent pipeline equipped with the skills they need for future success.”

To facilitate the Canada Skills Program at local institutions, Microsoft is training and certifying almost 100 faculty as Microsoft Certified Trainers at colleges, polytechnics and universities, providing the fundamental skills that are in high demand as the economy emerges from the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Institutions will combine Microsoft’s curriculum alongside existing coursework to skill students in Data and AI technologies and prepare students to take industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications including Azure AI Engineer, Azure Data Scientist, Azure Data Engineer, Azure Administrator, Azure Solutions Architect and Azure Fundamentals. Students will also have access to Azure Education Hub to support hands on learning.

“The global economic recovery will be significantly rooted in innovations which require these skills,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education, Microsoft. “As a global technology leader, we have a responsibility to ensure future generations of workers have the tools they need to succeed, and to help strengthen our economies overall.”

The first 12 post-secondary institutions to sign on with the Microsoft Canada Skills Program are:

  • Ontario: Seneca College, Humber College; Ontario Tech University; Algonquin College
  • British Columbia: University of British Columbia; Vancouver Community College
  • Alberta: University of Calgary; Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; Red Deer College; Southern Alberta Institute of Technology; Bow Valley College
  • Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

“We are delighted to work with Microsoft to offer our students the digital skills they need in the innovation economy,” said David Agnew, President of Seneca College. “With faculty in key programs being Microsoft Certified Trainers, our students will be equipped with the right skills and credentials to succeed in their careers.”

The Microsoft Canada Skills Program is the company’s latest initiative aimed at giving Canadians the skills they need for the digital economy. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a global skilling initiative to help 25 million workers who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, providing free training and access to learning tools across Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub. This initiative will also allow recent graduates to upgrade and evolve their skills with the changing economy.




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