NPower: Employer-Designed Training & Internships: Closing the Skills Gap


Certain industries anticipate increasing demand for entry-level workers, and fear a skills gap will limit their growth and productivity. Meanwhile, without adequate training opportunities, many youth lack the skills – technical and/or soft – to qualify for or succeed in entry level positions. It’s vital for employers to work jointly with governments, educational institutions and non-profit agencies to design, deliver, and recruit for training programs to benefit both youth and employers. This pilot looks at building the pipeline of future talent through private-sector led employment training and internship opportunities.

80% of NPower Alumni are employed or pursuing higher education within 6 months of graduation. 

For our Escalator initiative, CivicAction partnered with NPower Canada to bring a proven employer-driven program that includes free training, paid internships, job placements and mentorships for youth facing barriers to employment to the GTHA. High-profile corporate partners such as Accenture, CIBC, Cisco, RBC, TD, and Virgin Mobile joined on, along with community partners like Ryerson University, United Way Toronto, the Metcalf Foundation, the Michael “Pinball” Clemons Foundation, and ACCES Employment.

92% of supervisors report that new hires from NPower Canada consistently meet or exceed expectations.

NPower Canada’s first cohort of youth graduated from the Technology Services Corps Canada program in May 2015. Within the first month, 79% of them were working as IT professionals, while other graduates were inspired to pursue post-secondary education. The second cohort was twice the size of the first, and NPower Canada will continue to scale up to serve hundreds of youth across the GTHA in the next few years.

“To me, NPower is exactly what I could have asked for in a program. Monetary need would always lead to me choosing employment over continued schooling, but the problem with employment was the need for continued schooling to move up. As school is expensive with or without a loan, I was stuck. Then came NPower, breaking the mold.”

“The technical training has been great, but the networking, site visits, guest speakers and professional development have also been invaluable. I want to say being part of this program has opened so many doors for me. Doors I wasn’t always privy to.”

—NPower Canada’s first graduating students