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A group of graduate students holding their certificates

“This is an amazing opportunity!”

“I had no idea of the scope of the tech jobs in Calgary.”

“I geeked out!” 

Emphatic expressions of new-found optimism about career prospects in the digital economy resonated throughout the graduation ceremony for the first cohort from NPower Canada’s tech training program in Calgary.

Just four months after opening its first location in Canada outside Toronto, NPower Canada celebrated its first Calgary graduates at the Calgary Public Library. Almost one-third of the three dozen young grads already had entry-level tech jobs before the intense 10-week course concluded.

With support from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, NPower Canada expanded to Calgary in May to help upskill underserved young adults for careers in the digital economy. In the five years since NPower's launch in Canada, 85 per cent of its 1,000 graduates have secured junior IT jobs or furthered their education at post-secondary institutions.

“The NPower Canada model is based on an ‘It takes a village’ approach. We know that good workforce development requires partnerships, consideration and commitment,” said Julia Blackburn, CEO of NPower Canada. “We chose Calgary as our first site outside the Greater Toronto Area because this is a town that understands how to work together.”

More than half the graduates from the first Calgary cohort were women and 40 per cent were new Canadians. There is strong demand in Calgary for NPower Canada’s training, but enrollment is linked to the number of companies it can attract as potential employers.

 “We believe in NPower Canada’s vision to create career opportunities for deserving Calgarians and see it as an investment in our people and in our city,” said Deana Haley, Vice President of Client Services for Calgary Economic Development. “The tech sector is growing fast in Calgary and these graduates have the chance to get a foot in the door and build a rewarding career.”

Talent is one of four pillars outlined in the city’s Economic Strategy. With Calgary companies expected to spend $7.5 billion in digitization across the core sectors in the next three years, NPower Canada’s work supports Calgary Economic Development’s three-pronged approach to ensure that the local workforce is skilled to meet the demands of the new economy.

A group of graduate students holding their certificates.

From left to right: Julia Blackburn, NPower Canada; Lisa Moon, NPower Canada; Deana Haley, Calgary Economic Development; NPower Canada Calgary graduates; Jerilynn Daniels, RBC; Eunice Bawah, United Way of Calgary and Area; Craig Foley, United Way of Calgary and Area

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