Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced a new innovation ecosystem project called Blue Futures Pathways Project. Focused on building capabilities and the development of workers to support the growth of Canada’s ocean economy, the total project value is $2.4 million where the Ocean Supercluster will provide almost $1.5 million in funding with the balance coming from project partners.

Blue Futures Pathways will connect youth across Canada with education and employment, and support participants in developing a successful career in the sustainable blue economy. The project is supportive of all youth aged 18-30 and will have a particular focus on the inclusion and inspiration of under-represented, remotely located, and Indigenous people.

The project is led by the Students on Ice Foundation with partners including the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), ECO Canada, and with the support of Mitacs. Together they will create 150 internships and guide youth towards sustainable blue economy careers, building and launching 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, especially under-represented youth within their workplace. Participants will also receive training to prepare them for the specific dynamics and culture of the workplace where career-specific and personal growth-related mentorship connections will be cultivated on a dedicated program on the Port. Mentorship will also form a strong part of the paid internships that will be piloted in a number of regions across the country. Blue Futures Pathways intends to provide youth with opportunities within ocean tech companies in Nova Scotia; engaging youth across the Arctic in monitoring ocean health; providing an understanding of suburban waste-water management in Ontario and the Prairies; and training the next generation of bio-monitors in British Columbia.

The Blue Futures Pathways project aims to engage at least 250 employers on the digital port, with at least 2,500 youth engaging in the sustainable blue economy training, mentoring, and employment opportunities made available through it. The target reach for the Port is five million impressions by August 2022.

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