Pan-Canadian university partnership helps develop skills of the future

April 02, 2019

Ensuring all students have the skills they need to succeed after graduation is a key focus of a new pan-Canadian university partnership focused on skills development.

FUSION, the Future Skills Innovation Network, was announced April 2 in Toronto. It is a collaborative group of six Canadian universities, including Simon Fraser University, that will work to develop the skills students require as they prepare for the future economy.

“Rather than each university working independently to try to re-invent the wheel, FUSION will help us learn from each other to ensure that all our students have a chance to succeed,” says Elizabeth Elle, SFU’s vice-provost and associate vice-president, learning and teaching.

The work will improve post-secondary outcomes for students from under-represented groups, including Indigenous students; develop students’ work-related skills through curricular and co-curricular activities; and create more flexible formats for accessing learning. SFU’s FUSION project is funded by the Government of Canada's Future Skills Centre.

"The Future Skills Centre is thrilled to be partnering with Simon Fraser University and universities across Canada on their project 'FUSION'," said Melanie Wright, interim executive director of the Future Skills Centre. “This project will work towards supporting young Canadians in gaining access to new skills and will contribute to a growing evidence base in skills development research.”

To address these challenges, the FUSION partner universities will experiment with delivery modes, teaching methods, and credentialing practices, while supporting students’ ability to identify and translate their skills for rapidly changing labour markets.

The six partner institutions are: SFU, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Carleton University, Concordia University and Memorial University. FUSION’s network model will help to foster collaboration around skill development and speed the diffusion of successful innovations.

FUSION represents a new way of working for Canadian universities. As the only cross-institutional network of universities in Canada focusing on innovation in skills development, FUSION fills a vital gap and will significantly contribute to Canada’s skills ecosystem as a partner in the Future Skills Centre.

Read more about the initiative here.