Helping Canada’s Veterans Upskill

By November 9, 2022

Canada has made great progress in the past three years when it comes to strengthening technology and digital skills. However, it continues to be challenged in finding enough trained workers to fill the increasing number of job technology-based job openings. As a result, businesses and organisations looking to digital transformation are challenged as the gap between the skills in demand and the availability of a workforce with required skills widens.

According to World Economic Forum, closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. There is no time to lose, as there was a skills shortage well before the pandemic. Canada has a unique opportunity to coordinate across industries and sectors to cultivate new sources of talent like the veteran community.

For most Canadian veterans, retiring from military service doesn’t mean retiring altogether. According to 2019 Statistics Canada report more than half (57%) of Canadian Forces veterans transition to civilian careers following their military service. Veterans can translate many skills and practical experience earned through military service into careers in cybersecurity, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

The bottom line, it’s time to prepare our workforce for the future and double down on our efforts to provide Canadians including veterans with the skills they need to navigate the new digital economy. To address this urgent need to upskill and reskill our workforce, IBM provides education, training, and support to veterans with programs such as the Veterans Employment Initiative. The company also partners with organizations like Coding for Veterans, which helps Canadian veterans and their families transition from deployment to employment and up-skill in critical areas such as cybersecurity.

When it comes to skills development, all companies need to expand the networks they hire from, bringing supply and demand closer together. Whether it’s digital skills or complex problem solving, lifelong learning and resiliency will take centre-stage as Canadians look to upskill, reskill, and replace lost jobs.

IBM is playing a key role in bridging the skills gap through IBM SkillsBuild program, a free digital training platform. It helps learners develop valuable new skills and find jobs, regardless of their background or education. IBM SkillsBuild provides learners with professional workplace readiness and technical skills and enables them to earn digital badges recognized by the market. The program helps connect learners with a curated path of job-focused learning, supported by organizations that address their specific needs. IBM is committed to skilling 30 million people worldwide by 2030.


Paul Zikopoulos, Vice President, Technology Group – Skills Vitality & Enablement, IBM