Human Capital Centre

We help businesses and governments match jobs to skills & skills to jobs, ensuring people’s essential skills and competencies are being used to full advantage, and increasing productivity.

2017 work plan (pdf)

2017 Projects

In Canada, there are 1.32 million people without jobs, yet there are 400,000 jobs needing people. There is a shortage of people with needed technical skills, even in provinces hit hard by low energy prices.

Our research is focused on competencies – what people know, do and understand – and on a competency-based approach to build a better workforce, so that:

• Employers find the right people, with the right skills, in the right places, at the right time.

• People gain the skills employers are looking for (or recognize the value of the ones they already have), and find jobs that more effectively use their competencies.

• Education and apprenticeship systems, while fulfilling a broader mandate, respond better to the needs of students and apprentices to develop skills for success in the workforce.

We are continuing to build on already completed original, useful and practical research and recommendations, including:

Competence is the Best Credential

Smarten Up: It’s time to build essential skills

Building Blocks: Modular credentials for Canada’s trades

Know, Do, Understand: Development of competencies in Canada’s schoolchildren

The following are specific projects we are undertaking:

A pan-Canadian competency framework:
Yes, we can

People develop useful competencies (often quite different from formal credentials), which can be put to good use in various industries and occupations. Too often, neither those people, nor employers with jobs that need filling, recognize those competencies. How do we know the competencies employers are looking for? What are the competencies that people have developed? And how do we match them up? Our work will address the potential of competency-based models of education, training, assessment and certification, and how to build a pan-Canadian competency framework.

Indigenous economic engagement:
Getting to prosperity

In partnership with our Natural Resources Centre, we will look at what works in building Indigenous economic success, as well as what skills and competencies are most often found in communities and individuals who have been successfully engaged in the economic opportunities of resource development.

Waiward Steel:
A success story of competencies at work

Despite being recognized for its world class safety program, and fully “certified” employees, Waiward Steel Inc. experienced four serious safety incidents between 2010 and 2012. The leadership team vowed to make changes. Waiward implemented a competency-based approach to its workforce, and four years later, it has achieved a 900 per cent improvement to its safety record. Our Waiward case study will result in recommendations on competency frameworks and how to implement them, useful to businesses, governments and unions.

Laid-off oil, gas and mining workers:
Competent for jobs in other sectors

Laid-off oil, gas and mining workers have developed significant competencies that can be useful in other sectors and occupations – but the problem is that neither they nor potential employers realize it. This work will analyze the competencies that have been developed, where they are needed, and how to match people looking for work with available jobs.

Challenges – and opportunities – when a whole industry shuts down

Coal-fired electricity generation is being phased out. We will conduct a major case study, with practical recommendations, on how coal industry workers can use the competencies they have developed to find other work, in other industries and occupations; and how employers who may not at first think of coal industry workers for the jobs they have available, can recognize and capitalize on those competencies. Doing this right will be crucial not just for the workers affected by the shutdown, but their whole communities.

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Planned research

View work plan

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