Donor support builds confidence and maps competence

Student looks at computer.

The Government of Alberta recently launched the next phase in its Alberta Is Calling campaign to attract newcomers to the province. The campaign cites Jobs in Skilled Trades as in high demand and specifically focused this recent effort to address the current shortage in skilled trade labour across Alberta. According to Alberta Jobs, Economy and Northern Development Minister Brian Jean, there are 100,000 employment vacancies that need to be filled with skilled trades making up a significant portion of those positions.

As a leader in applied education, SAIT will provide a crucial pipeline of trained individuals to meet these demands, and support from our donor community is helping accelerate the process. For many prospective and current students, as well as mid-career individuals interested in upskilling, there are difficulties in identifying the gap between their current skillset and what they require to continue along their career path.

Learner pathways to bridge the gap

Thanks to a generous gift of $375,000 from TD, SAIT’s Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Studies recently concluded a Competency Mapping and Learner Pathways pilot project that aims to help students identify their skillset gaps and offer learning pathways, bridging the skills they have to what they need to learn.

“The Competency Mapping and Learner Pathways Project empowers prospective students who are exploring career opportunities and mid-career upskilling with a tool that will support them in making informed decisions relating to their career and learning pathways,” says Brad Ackroyd, Product Strategist, Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Studies at SAIT.

Career path empowerment

Support from TD allowed Ackroyd and team to utilize the software platform SkyHive, a career and learning pathways tool. In this pilot project, an individual creates a profile, uploads their resume, inputs additional information on their current professional skills, and then chooses a desired career path to pursue.

“The tool provides a gap analysis of skills required and skills possessed, and identifies the skills or competency gap that needs to be bridged in order to be successful in the desired role,” explains Ackroyd.

SAIT Instructor Brad Ackroyd.
Brad Ackroyd, Product Strategist, Centre for
Continuing Education and Professional Studies at SAIT

The pilot ran in Fall 2022 with several students participating in the launch.

“There is a lot of potential to this application,” says Cameron Christian, one of the pilot participants. “There is real value being able to see the key words and skills that employers are looking for in their job postings. The potential to map my career growth looked very appealing.”

“The tool takes away some of the uncertainty that comes with exploring a new profession,” says another participant Art Assoiants. “It does this by letting you know what the market is looking for in terms of a profession’s hard and soft skills. It’s able to provide you this insight by content mining across many job postings for a profession.”

Forward-focused learning

When he considers the potential of what a program like this can offer to students, Ackroyd is excited at what can be done.

“Eventually, we hope to cross-link the identified gap with the training that SAIT provides and then map a learning pathway through programs at SAIT with personalized support.” he shares.

Through the support from donors such as TD, SAIT is ready to embrace forward-focused solutions to help bridge the labour shortage gap in Alberta through innovative programs such as Competency Mapping and Learner Pathways.

Interested in upskilling? Want to stand out in a crowded job market? Advance your career and become one in a million with SAIT’s expert instructors, industry connections and career support. Find out more at