Helping train youth for tech jobs

Good deeds can make for good business. The City of Calgary’s latest recipient of the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund stands is proof. NPower Canada helps young adults from underserved communities gain skills for a career in tech. Last week, NPower Canada opened its first location outside Toronto in downtown Calgary and will provide free, short-term training to low-income Calgarians ages 18 to 29 interested in careers in the digital economy starting this month.

“What started as a good social thing to do, is now a good business thing to do,” said Stephen Gardiner, Chair of NPower Canada and Digital Lead in Canada for the global management consulting firm, Accenture.

Gardiner speaks from experience. Accenture has hired more than 60 graduates from NPower’s 15-week cohorts for entry level tech positions. At the official opening of the Calgary location, Gardiner said that those grads are making a difference in the company.

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund contributed $100,000 to help NPower Canada launch the location in Calgary. Funded by The City of Calgary and administered through Calgary Economic Development, the $100 million OCIF fund targets future success stories to help those businesses reach the next level. OCIF is one way The City is supporting businesses through our economic recovery.

City Councillor Jeff Davison, a member of the Board of Directors for both OCIF and Calgary Economic Development, is excited to welcome the organization to the city. Davison said the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund was created to make transformative investments in our city and developing local people for the jobs of tomorrow is a major component of the economic strategy.

“There are few things as transformative for someone who is unemployed and underemployed as getting a chance to acquire the skills, at no cost to them, to start a career in the tech sector and contribute to a strong Calgary economy as they make a better future for themselves and their families in this city,” said Davison.

About 85 per cent of NPower Canada alumni have secured employment in junior IT roles or enrolled in higher education within six months of graduation. The organization is about to place its 1,000th grade in its five-year history.

The first 15-week cohort of 35 Calgarians begins on May 21 and more than 90 per cent of the available spots are filled. In the next three years, NPower expects at least 300 unemployed and underemployed youth in Calgary will enroll in its program to launch rewarding tech careers in Calgary.

“The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund’s contribution to our program will benefit both deserving young adults that want to join the workforce and businesses that have junior IT jobs to fill.” said Julia Blackburn, CEO of NPower Canada. “It takes private, public and non-profit community partnerships to makes something like this happen, and Calgary really gets that. It’s those types of partnerships that brought us here to Calgary.”

NPower Canada is the fourth announcement from the more than 200 applications received since the Fund was launched by the City of Calgary in April 2018. 

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