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.

2022 work plan Our recent work

“Our research helps business and government address the shortage of technical workers, essential skills levels and underemployment.”

Janet Lane, Director, Human Capital Centre

Young Talent Attraction and Retention

The Canada West Foundation has launched a project that examines the social and environmental challenges of young talent retention and attraction for Alberta.

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Collaborative Models and Capacity in Civil Society

The Canada West Foundation has launched a project to examine the civil society sector.

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The Future of Work and Learning Brief

Through this monthly brief, keep on top of developments in the workforce and how education and training are changing today to build the skills and competencies needed for the future.

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Build capacity to work & to improve productivity 

The goal of the Human Capital Centre (HCC) is to ensure that the West has the workforce it needs today and into the future.

The HCC has championed a competency-based approach to education, training, assessment, hiring and labour market information systems for over eight years. It has taken time, but a competency-based approach to work-force development is gaining traction with governments, organizations, educators, employers and individuals.

The final piece of the competency puzzle:
Engage employers

Policy Goal: A competency-based system driven by the demand side (employers), rather than the supply side (educators).

This missing link in our advocacy for a competency-based training and education ecosystem is pull from employers. For years, employers have expected that education and training providers would supply the workforce they needed. In a competency-based system, they must actively contribute.

We will focus on how to further implement a competency-based system designed to improve Canada’s workforce development. 

In 2022 we will: 
  • Identify how policy can support employers to become more engaged in determining competency requirements and the development of their own workforce training solutions.
  • Identify new approaches to extend apprenticeship and experiential learning more broadly using competency design and assessment.
  • Provide research support, reporting and recommendations, including policy recommendations that arise from participation in an 18-month project with lead partner Work Based Learning Consortium. Through this project, funded through the Future Skills Centre, we will determine manufacturing sectors with technical skills and competency shortages and develop on-the-job training programs specifically to fill technical competency gaps.
  • Provide support for a 22-month, national, multi-sectoral project to upgrade basic workforce skills and measure the impact on individuals and on productivity for employers. (Project subject to final federal funding approval.)

Collaborative capacity in civil society

Policy Goal: More effective and efficient collaboration among non-profit agencies by applying competency frameworks.

There are more than 26,000 non-profit agencies working to improve lives in Alberta alone. In 2021, we began research into the civil society sector with the goal of assisting agencies to improve their capacity to collaborate. 

In 2022 we will:
  • Build competency frameworks including organizational, relational and digital capacity issues to support a new funding and delivery model of outcomes procurement.

Youth talent & retention 

Policy Goal: Reverse the loss of young people from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In 2021 we explored why it is difficult to retain and attract youth to Alberta. 

In 2022 we will:
  • Engage with economic development agencies and other institutions to share our findings and support implementation of our recommendations. (Funding is required to extend this work to other provinces with youth talent challenges.)

It’s not only energy systems: Energy workers & communities need a smooth transition too

Policy Goal: A smooth transition for energy workers and the communities disrupted by climate policies. 
In 2022 we will: 
  • Use a competency-approach to develop policies to help workers in traditional oil, gas and coal extraction sectors face a transition to new careers.
  • Apply a competency approach to assist economic development agencies in smaller communities most affected by this transition seek investment from new employers. A critical aspect of investment attraction is a workforce with the right combination of skills. An adaptive competencies pathway to connect labour market information, investment attraction and available training will be tried and tested if funding permits.

2022 work plan (pdf)

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Planned research

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