Quebec investing $150 million in IT training

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MONTREAL — Quebec is giving another boost to help recruit workers amid a labour shortage, this time in information technology. Labour Minister Jean Boulet announced in Montreal on Monday that the government will grant an extra $151.5 million for three measures to attract 50,000 people into the field of information […]

MONTREAL —
Quebec is giving another boost to help recruit workers amid a labour shortage, this time in information technology.

Labour Minister Jean Boulet announced in Montreal on Monday that the government will grant an extra $151.5 million for three measures to attract 50,000 people into the field of information technology in the coming years.

“There are several factors that explain the increased need for information technology: telecommuting, e-commerce, the inevitability of increasing productivity — through automation, digitization, artificial intelligence, robotization, the digital shift. For me, these are the key factors that explain the exacerbation of the needs in this sector,” explained Boulet.

Training, requalifying workers and providing support to businesses are the three pillars of the program.

One of these measures comes from the COUD program — for Short Term or Courte durée — which allows work-study programs. Quebec is spending $31.5 million on this program.

Those in the COUD program work for three days and study for the other two days and are paid during their training, earning up to $25 per hour.

These ‘group sponsors’ bring together businesses and initiate training in ‘premium’ sectors like IT because there are significant labour needs.

Another measure, with a budget of $60 million, supports companies that want to develop their workers, recruit from abroad or improve their practices to make them more compatible with their IT needs.

Another program, called PRATIC — Program for the requalification and accompaniment in information and communication technologies – is getting an additional $60 million budget.

An unemployed person will be able to receive a requalification allowance of $650 per week if they meet the requirements.

“We accompany them in a requalification process, either at the college or university level. We assume the costs of transportation, childcare, and basic living expenses. It allows for training that leads to qualifications,” said Boulet.

Training courses are in robotics, cybersecurity, electromechanical engineering, video games, programming, artificial intelligence and geomatics, said the minister.

After the training, the person receives a sum of $1,950, the equivalent of three weeks of allowances.

Quebec hopes to contribute to the requalification of some 10,000 people by 2025-2026.

“People on social assistance can benefit from these programs if they meet the criteria. No one is left behind,” said the minister.

— This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 13, 2021.

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