Global Skills Opportunity to connect students with a world of new opportunities
OTTAWA — Thousands of Canadian post-secondary students will soon have access to life-changing international study and work opportunities through the new Global Skills Opportunity program. Officially launched today, this national outbound student mobility program is expected to enable more than 16,000 Canadian college and undergraduate-level university students from across the country acquire the global skills employers want and the Canadian economy needs.
The $95 million Global Skills Opportunity program is a key component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy and is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. Administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada, the program has been designed in a flexible manner that allows participating colleges, universities and institutes to customize projects to their students’ needs.
Global Skills Opportunity will increase Canadians’ participation in international learning opportunities and expand their international networks, key to Canada’s future economic prosperity. While open to all Canadian post-secondary students, the program targets groups for whom such experiences have traditionally been less accessible — specifically Indigenous students, students from low-income backgrounds and those with disabilities. It also aims to diversify destination countries where Canadian students pursue international learning.
After holding a call for project proposals and a rigorous selection process in summer 2021, Global Skills Opportunity is funding 124 projects at 56 universities and 54 colleges across the country. The funded projects are being run in collaboration with international partners in more than 100 countries over the next three and half years. More information about the program and funded projects is available at www.GlobalSkillsOpportunity.ca, also launched today.
Given the backdrop of the pandemic, many post-secondary institutions created or improved tools and approaches to offer students innovative and meaningful virtual mobility programming. Projects that involve travel abroad will prioritize student safety, and ensure wraparound supports and security measures are in place to support students while overseas. Physical mobility will only be permitted in alignment with Government of Canada travel advisories.
“Global Skills Opportunity is breaking down financial, social and logistical barriers that have prevented too many underrepresented students from participating in global study and work opportunities. Through this ambitious and ground-breaking program, thousands of young Canadians will have transformational experience abroad. Their newfound global perspective and skills will inform the way they live and work for decades to come.”
— Paul Davidson, President, Universities Canada
“Study and work abroad programs are invaluable learning experiences that ensure students are culturally literate, resilient, adaptable and ready to succeed in an increasingly globalized world. This is perhaps more important than ever, which is why we are so proud to work with our partners to deliver Global Skills Opportunity. This groundbreaking program will allow more Canadian students to access these opportunities to develop the skills they need to gain a foothold in today’s global marketplace.”
— Denise Amyot, President, Colleges and Institutes Canada