Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot


Can we help to future-proof youth by rapidly scaling digital literacy + coding training outside of the classroom?

The Challenge

Our research indicates that within the next two decades, 42 percent of Canadian jobs are at risk of being impacted by automation. At the same time, technology is becoming pervasive, creating new opportunities and changing the nature of work across industries.

To support full participation in an increasingly digital economy, the next generation must have access to digital literacy training. And to tap into Canada’s diverse talent pool, these skills must be made available to groups that are currently underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

At the moment, both formal education systems and after-school programming are responding to the need for digital literacy training. However, they face their own challenges. Formal curricula can be slow to change, and the necessary resources are often out of reach for underfunded schools. After-school programs, which can more easily adapt to the continuously changing digital landscape, are often faced with geographic or financial barriers to entry.

Our Solution: The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot

The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot is designed to help bridge the gap between youth in underrepresented groups and the digital skills that are critical to economic participation. It will do this by:

1. Partnering with community organizations, represented in the majority of Ontarian communities;
2. Working alongside the formal education system to help inform future curriculum decisions;
3. Focusing on the needs of those currently underserved by existing digital skills programs; and
4. Placing an emphasis on coding as an entry point to a broader set of digital competencies, like problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot will be:

  • Focused on building digital skills and competencies, which will include coding;
  • Continuously, tested, refined, and evaluated throughout its run;
  • Overseen by experts in education, program delivery, community needs, and technology industry needs;
  • Offered to eight cohorts of 15-30 participants between the ages of 12 and 15, 60 percent of whom will be female, with a focus on youth traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields;
  • Delivered through extracurricular programming, but connected to the formal education system; and
  • Available in six different sites across Ontario.

Our Model

There is a clear need to make digital skill-building experiences accessible to all youth across Ontario. The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot leverages the expertise and experience of project partners to design, implement, and evaluate a scalable model for achieving this goal.

The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot will bring together community, program delivery, industry, education and academic partners. Working together, we will produce a scalable model that will help open the door to digital skills for youth across Ontario.

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