The importance of soft skills beyond STEM has been an important topic over the last year, and one of Canada’s largest outreach and learning networks is taking notice.
The RBC Foundation today announced a $1.1 million investment into Actua’s Future Skills Program, a new initiative that seeks to educate the organization’s extended network about the skills needed to become a leader in the modern workplace. The announcement was made at a panel dedicated to the future of work and the skills needed to deal with how employment will shift over the coming years.
Actua’s Future Skills program launched last year, and this new investment will go towards the 1,000 undergraduate students across Canada who work for the organization’s 38 university and college-based locations. The students are all currently enrolled in STEM fields, and the Future Skills program will allow them to learn the core traits necessary to become leaders and executives in their field.
“We are extremely pleased to have RBC Foundation, one of Actua’s longest-standing supporters, invest in our Future Skills program,” said Jennifer Flanagan, CEO, Actua. “This program addresses a critical gap in employability skills among undergraduate students who are about to enter the workforce, and sets them up to be leaders in inclusive innovation. It also equips them with essential skills such as leadership, problem solving, risk taking, financial literacy and cultural competency.”
Over the last few years, there has been a dedicated push from both governments and public groups to emphasize the importance of STEM education. Though the number of students in STEM is growing and becoming more diverse, recently employers have noticed that there must be a balance of soft and hard skills in order to successfully lead and manage companies. A LinkedIn report noted that some of the most important skills for 2019 will be people management, collaboration, and adaptability. The Actua Future Skills program was created to set the network’s members up for success so they can not only succeed in key roles but also influence peers to do the same.
The investment into Actua comes from RBC’s Future Launch, a 10-year $500 million commitment to ensure Canadian youth are prepared for the Future of Work.
“As digital and machine technology advances, the next generation of Canadians will need to be more adaptive, creative and collaborative, adding and refining skills to keep pace with a world of work undergoing profound change,” said John Stackhouse, SVP, Office of the CEO at RBC. “That’s what RBC Future Launch is all about, and through our partnership with Actua, we hope to enable young people to identify, articulate and build their skills—and help young Canadians develop them.”