More than half of Canadian employers say they plan to offer online programs for workers to take on a career in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, according to a new report.
The study from the Canadian Council for Training and Development (CCTD) also finds the cost of these online programs is still high.
The CCTD surveyed more than 5,400 employers across Canada and found that employers were paying $3.1 billion in tuition for a one-year course in a high-tech field and $3,066 per month for a three-year online degree.
“In the digital age, it’s important for employers to keep in mind the skills they are going to need and the skills that are needed,” said John O’Neill, director of the CCTDS online education program.
The report says employers are also paying for online training in other areas such as computer programming and computer science.
“A high proportion of employers are looking for the ability to teach onsite,” said O’Brien.
“And it’s really important that the learning that is going to happen is done on-site.”
There is a growing need for online courses for workers in IT, according the CTCD, which said that more than 80 per cent of employers surveyed said they plan on offering online programs in the future.
The CCTD report also found that while employers are paying for onsite online training, it can be a challenge for those with disabilities.
“Access to onsite training is often limited, because of accessibility, and also because of the fact that we don’t always have the resources to cover the full cost of online education,” said Erin Strom, a senior researcher at the CITIC-National Centre for Training, Research and Evaluation (NCERT).
“So for employers, the question becomes, how do we make the transition to on-campus education easier?”
One of the biggest barriers is that employers do not have a clear definition of what it means to have a disability, said O’mill.
“If a person is working with computers, they’re not necessarily disabled,” she said.
“They may have a learning disability or some kind of learning impairment.”
O’mell said it is also important that employers are able to provide workers with the training they need, so that the experience can be enjoyable.
“We also need to make sure that our employers are creating opportunities for workers who might not be able to get into a career that requires them to be physically present at work,” she added.
A new report from the CCCTD also found employers are not fully embracing the internet as a way to address the skills gap, with about one-third of employers still considering online learning as an option for workers.
The online learning programs, known as CCT, are offered by a wide range of employers across the country.
They are designed to provide skills in various fields that are important to the success of an organization, said Dr. Pauline Pardoe, an associate professor of labour and employment studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
“The CCTD study indicates that the skills needed in an IT career are not just limited to IT.
It’s about a wide variety of skills,” said Pardoes.
Pardodes study shows that about 20 per cent, or 1.7 million people, in the Canadian workforce do not hold a job, and nearly half of those are in the IT sector.
In addition, the CCTD found that more workers with disabilities, such as those with physical impairments or mental disabilities, are being pushed into the digital workforce.
“This is the kind of information that we need to be talking about, because there is an enormous amount of talent in that industry,” said Strom.
Pardoe added that the study also found some companies are moving away from online education altogether, with some saying that they will no longer offer it.
“There’s a lot of pressure to get these jobs,” said Dr O’Donnell.
“People feel like they need a lot more support.
They want to know that they’re getting a great job.
They feel like there’s a great chance they’re going to be successful.”