University of Waterloo’s WatSPEED is launching two new career accelerator programs designed to provide working professionals with the skills needed to outpace technology in the workplace.

WatSPEED, Waterloo’s professional and executive education arm, will receive $3.1 million in funding to develop intensive training opportunities to prepare people in the advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity sectors. These innovative programs—powered by Upskill Canada and funded by Palette Skills and the Government of Canada—are part of the first wave of partnership agreements that take an industry-oriented approach to supporting Canadian workers.

Supported by funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) Upskilling for Industry Initiative, more than 15,000 Canadians will benefit from Upskill Canada’s unique approach to skills training.  

“We are thrilled to partner with Upskill Canada to build upon Waterloo’s strengths and empower Canadians with the skills they need to succeed in a workplace that is being continuously impacted by technology advancements,” said Sanjeev Gill, associate vice-president, innovation and executive director of WatSPEED. “These new career accelerator programs provide a unique and valuable combination of technical and professional training, career coaching, and industry engagement that are developed in close partnership with industry.” 

WatSPEED’s partnership with Upskill Canada aims to address skills gaps in the cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing fields. The Secure Coding and Advanced Manufacturing career accelerator programs combine essential training in technical and professional skills and include personalized career coaching, industry engagement, and extensive job-ready skills development over a 13-week period.

The upskilling programs are the latest in a growing network of global partnerships the University of Waterloo is involved in that support the skills of Canadians by working with industry and government to infuse training and research solutions into sectors critical for economic growth and innovation.

“We’re so proud to formally launch Upskill Canada with our inaugural class of workers and training service providers,” said Rhonda Barnet, CEO of Palette Skills, which ISED chose to run the Upskill Canada initiative. “This is a big first step–but it’s only the beginning. We’re looking forward to working with our supporters in government and industry to upskill many more Canadians, so they can transition into high-demand roles in the modern workforce–and help fast-growing companies achieve their full potential.”  

Positioned at the intersection of technology and business and rooted in experiential education, WatSPEED develops education for professionals to continuously outpace technological, societal, environmental, and economic disruption. The education delivered through the career accelerator programs will empower Canadian professionals with new job opportunities so they can adapt and compete in today’s digital workforce.