Palette: An upskilling and retraining pilot

A pilot designed to help mid-career workers whose jobs are threatened by automation to retrain and upskill into high demand careers in the innovation economy
Palette: An upskilling and retraining pilot

Project Team

Why we’re doing this project

Automation  and artificial intelligence are rapidly changing the way we live. Technology that once lived on the pages of science-fiction novels is now redefining our everyday lives, from how we buy our groceries to how we park our cars. These changes are also impacting the way we work. Decreased labor mobility and surges in precarious work feel like the new normal.

The story thus far for workers has been one of anxiety and fear as they wonder how these changes will impact their livelihoods in a vastly different economy. Caught between a changing labour market and an unprepared training system are millions of workers who possess valuable experience, yet lack in the specific skills that employers need. Those most impacted by automation are mid-career workers – individuals who have been in the workforce for at least ten years in industries such as retail, manufacturing, and finance.

Helping mid-career workers whose jobs are threatened by automation to retrain and upskill into high demand careers in the innovation economy, Palette Inc. works to contribute towards an inclusive innovation economy in Canada where all workers have the skills they need to thrive. Launched in 2017 and developed in partnership with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E), Palette Inc. is a national non-profit designed to provide a platform for employers, workers, training providers and other stakeholders to identify, develop and deliver skilling programs to help workers transition to and succeed in the innovation economy.

Palette is currently building a pilot for launch in Fall 2018 and seeking partners from industry, education, training, and employment services. If you are interested in getting involved, contact us.

To learn more about Palette, follow this link.


Our Process

Palette works with fast growing companies to identify common high demand skills then partners with training providers to create a rapid, intensive retraining and upskilling system that inherently matches labour demand to talent supply. It contains three core pillars of activity, each which come together to provide a comprehensive and efficient approach to demand-led rapid upskilling.

Palette Skilling Platform

  1. Identify Skill Demand
    • Identify broad need through labour market data, surveys, etc.
    • Engage employers with common skill needs and create talent consortium
    • Consult consortium for skill taxonomy and translate into learning outcomes for training
  2. Access Skill Matches
    • Analyze skill taxonomy of high demand jobs and compare against skill taxonomy of jobs at high risk of automation to find commonalities and develop skill profile.
    • Identify workers that fit within the skill profile and assess their existing skills against demand jobs.
  3. Facilitate Training
    • Identify training partner to deliver skilling program
    • Facilitate the co-design of curriculum between training partner and talent consortium
    • Deliver rapid upskilling programs and place trainees in job placements with employers


Access to Employers

Skill Pathway Analysis

Program Delivery

Current Partners

  1. Access to Employers
    • Council of Canadian Innovators
    • ITAC
    • Business Council of Canada
    • Communitech
  2. Skill Pathway Analysis
    • Brookfield Institute
    • Burning Glass
  3. Program Delivery
    • Chang School, Ryerson University
    • Humber College
    • Lighthouse Labs
    • D2L

Deep Dive

5 Results


Sep 20, 2018

Opinion: Mid-career workers have solid business skills valuable to the tech industry. This op-ed was originally published by The Conversation.
Photo of abandoned factory.

Sep 5, 2018

Opinion: There's a window of opportunity to build a reskilling infrastructure so that all Canadians can thrive from a growing tech sector. This op-ed was originally published by The Globe and Mail.
Photo of forklift working in warehouse.

Jul 31, 2018

An in-depth look at the talent and skills sought after by tech companies, as well as the different routes that people take to gain entry into the tech sector in the Waterloo region
Breaking Into Tech

Apr 20, 2018

Addressing the challenges of talent and skills development in an innovation-driven economy means taking a unique and fresh approach
Photo of people working and meeting together at a conference.
Load More