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A $2.4-million project announced Wednesday aims to develop workers to support the growth of Canada’s oceans economy.
The Blue Futures Pathways Project, announced by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, will target 18-30-year-olds, with a particular focus on under-represented, remotely located and Indigenous people.
The Supercluster will provide $1.5 million for the project, which is valued at $2.4 million, with the remainder coming from project partners,
In a news release today, Kendra MacDonald, CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, said the funding will help create 150 internships and engage at least 250 employers and 2,500 youth.
The project is led by the Students on Ice (SOI) Foundation with partners including the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), ECO Canada, and with the support of Mitacs.
Together they will guide youth towards sustainable blue economy careers through a digital platform called “the Port” where employers and supporters can communicate opportunities to the next generation of workers.
The Port will provide employers with tools, training and a support-network in how best to nurture youth. The target reach for the Port is five million impressions by August 2022.
Geoff Green, founder and president of the Students on Ice Foundation, said, “As the Blue Economy emerges in Canada, it is important for youth to be well-positioned to participate in, and lead its success.”
He noted SOI has more than 30 years of experience leading educational expeditions to the Artic, Antarctic and across Canada’s coastline.
“Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, educators and partners to learn about and help conserve our vital ecosystems is core to our mission. We look forward to growing our impact on youth and on the future of Canada’s ocean and freshwater resources through Blue Futures Pathways.”
Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said the project will enable First Nations youth to be exposed to a range of Blue Economy career opportunities, including shipping, science, fishing, tourism, conservation, technology, renewable energy, food security and policy.
“We must equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to mutually benefit from these resources. The Assembly of First Nations is pleased that the Blue Futures Project will provide First Nations youth with education and training to develop the skills they need for sustainable careers,” he said in a news release.
Through the Blue Futures Pathways, according to the Ocean Supercluster press release, young people will be connected with opportunities in a variety of ocean industries, including ocean tech companies in Nova Scotia; ocean health monitoring across the Arctic; suburban waste-water management in Ontario and the Prairies; and developing skills as bio-monitors in British Columbia.