Summary: Gaps in Indigenous education and skills training harm Indigenous business and overall economic growth. Better data are needed to address the problem.
Turning 15 is an important milestone; it’s the age when a person becomes a potential member of the workforce. Over the course of 10 years (between 2016 and 2026), 350,000 Indigenous youth will turn 15. However, to get and keep good jobs, basic essential skills are needed. And many Indigenous youth and adults do not graduate high school, or they graduate without requisite essential literacy and numeracy skills.
There are many reasons for this, including:
- the challenge of acquiring reliable internet in remote conditions;
- the myriad corollary effects of growing up in households disproportionately impacted by poverty, and in households impacted by residential school syndrome.
More and more, literacy and numeracy skills are the foundation to up-skilling and meeting the demands of rapidly changing and increasingly digital workplaces. People missing these foundational skills are missing opportunities for competitive jobs. They face the threat of job disruption due to automation, being under-qualified to gain workforce entry, having skills and experience that is not transferable to the knowledge economy leaving them without the tools they need to adapt and succeed.