The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship is thrilled to announce that we are supporting the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) Student Pathways Challenge. During a 6-week competition launching October 19, the challenge calls on Canadians to tackle the question:

How might we help high school students gain a better understanding of available career opportunities and the pathways to get there by means of a digital tool?

Through our work at the Policy Innovation Platform, we are always looking for partners who seek to make public services, programs and policies better for Canadians. We are excited by MAESD’s commitment to putting the user – high school students – at the centre of this challenge and encouraging participants to design solutions that meet their unique needs.

The Why

This is a question that cannot wait. Earlier this year, the Brookfield Institute released Future Proof: Preparing young Canadians for the future of work. Given the changing nature of the workforce, we showed that youth today face higher—and more diverse—skill and experience requirements than ever before.

We also highlighted that over the next decade, about two-thirds of job openings in Canada are expected to be in occupations that typically require post-secondary education, or in management roles. It’s hardly surprising, then, that only 44% of youth feel adequately prepared for the workforce.

Having conducted focus groups with youth from across the province over the last year, the Ontario government knows that students want access to better information about post-secondary education and career pathways. And they know that students want that information to be accessible, fun to interact with, and insightful.

(By the way, the Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel, which concluded in 2016, also called for better access to job market information).

The How

That’s why MAESD is calling on data gurus, students, educators, design thinkers, and passionate individuals to create teams and work together to build a digital tool that helps students make more informed decisions about their education, training, and careers.

To support participants, MAESD will be releasing numerous datasets with the types of information high school students seek. And, together we’ll provide a variety of resources to help participants who aren’t high school students better understand the individuals they’re designing for.

The Winners

The top 10 teams will travel to Toronto and have the chance to pitch their ideas and present their prototypes to a panel of innovative and creative thinkers. The most promising solutions will be awarded prizes from a total pool of $50,000! Head to the Student Pathways Challenge website to learn more.

Join the Competition

Join us on October 19th for Challenge Kick-Off Event at HackerYou in downtown Toronto. We’ll introduce the challenge and the full range of resources you’ll have access to, and make sure to answer your questions. We’ll also be livestreaming the launch event, so anyone in Canada can join in. If you’d like to get involved, register now.

For media enquiries, please contact Coralie D’Souza, Director of Communications, Events + Community Relations at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

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