The Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada (ICTC) found that 182,000 new skilled workers will be needed across Canada by 2019. This includes the creation of 84,000 new jobs and the replacement of 98,000 due to retirements and employees leaving the sector.
Now, more than ever, Canadian tech companies must excel in workforce development. Companies need to have a dynamic recruitment strategy and must constantly train their employees to develop new skills and increase the organization’s innovative capacity. On top of that, employers must also have a plan to retain employees in an ultra-competitive job market.
Luckily, government grants and loans can be accessed by almost all tech sector businesses for workforce development projects. With increased access to funding, forward-thinking business owners and executives can expand their human resources budget and have increased access to new, ambitious tech sector employees.
Successfully developing a dynamic, innovative, and growth-oriented workforce relies on two factors (1) the strategy and (2) the financing behind your recruiting and employee development plans.
The simple reality for most technology companies is that human resources budgets are minimized to expand R&D and cover other important expenses. Most employers feel there isn’t enough money to continuously invest in their workforce.
Government grants are an essential way to extend your payroll and training budgets. There are several government funding programs available on the national and provincial levels that can help tech businesses:
When used strategically, these funding programs can transform your workforce into an innovation powerhouse. Hiring and training grants can be used to reduce most project expenses by up to 50-83%.
To grow and harness the skills of a larger workforce, employers must be willing to hire recent post-secondary graduates.
Canadian government investments have expanded scientific studies at colleges and universities across the country. Because of this, tech businesses can expect an influx of recent graduates who are competent with advanced technologies and can make an immediate and sustained organizational impact.
One way employers can reduce their payroll costs in 2017 is by accessing grants to hire a recent post-secondary graduate. For most programs, Canadian SMEs can save up to 50% of a recent college or university graduate’s wages for a period of 4-12 months. During this time, businesses may access up to $20,000 to reduce the cost of labour while they provide training and onboarding to the new employee.
Some hiring grants are available specifically for the technology sector.
Upon completion of the funding program, it’s expected (but not required) that the recent graduate received skills to become a valuable member of the organization. This can assist tech employers to shape young tech graduates into the ideal tech sector employee.
Employers can begin applying for most hiring grants in the second quarter of each calendar year. Funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so employers should be prepared to submit applications for potential job candidates soon after classes end in the spring.
To understand new technologies and push innovative capacity, employers must be willing to provide employee training programs.
When technological advancements happen at such a rapid pace, keeping the skills of IT-sector employees up-to-date can be a struggle. Skilled workforces need training; it’s essential to remaining innovative and keeping a competitive advantage over competitors. Specialized training programs for tech employees can be costly to implement on an organization-wide level, but this shouldn’t deter businesses from making the investment.
Canadian government funding is available to Ontario businesses who use third-party training programs to improve the skillsets of their employees. Most businesses will qualify for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG), offering up to 66% of eligible expenses to a maximum $10,000 per trainee.
This includes product vendor training and college/university courses.
There is an even greater opportunity for small technology businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Companies may receive an increased contribution of up to 83% for their training program and include employee wages as an eligible expense.
Training is not only a workforce development tool, but it’s also a way to retain top talent. Employees who receive training are more engaged and ultimately more loyal. If there are sufficient opportunities to apply these skills and advance their careers, employees are much less likely to leave a business.
Training grants are typically accessible year-round, however availability changes throughout the year as funding organizations become depleted, then are topped-up again with funds. It is critical to form an understanding of the government funding landscape prior to application to increase your odds of success.
More information about hiring and training grants can be found by accessing Mentor Works’ range of educational materials. Their government funding blog is a top source of news for business owners and executives who wish to educate themselves about specific government funding programs.
Tech leaders may also register for a free, informative webinar detailing the process of obtaining Canadian government funding for hiring and training projects.
Mentor Works is a sponsor of AceTech Ontario. They are a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at www.mentorworks.ca.