In a move aimed at strengthening cooperation between employers and educators, a group representing some of Canada’s largest companies and post-secondary institutions today announced the creation of the Canadian Business/Higher Education Roundtable.
Composed of 27 leaders from the private sector, universities, colleges and polytechnics, the Roundtable will focus its efforts on helping young Canadians transition from education to the workplace. An equal priority will be to seek greater synergies between research and teaching on campuses and the needs of Canadian employers as they adapt to the economy of the future.
“Canada is one of the few industrialized countries that do not have a national forum for dialogue between large employers and post-secondary institutions,” said Tom Jenkins, one of 13 business leaders who are founding members of the Roundtable. “The creation of this Roundtable marks a significant step forward. It will provide a common space for collaboration, networking and the exchange of good practices that will benefit all Canadians.”
The Roundtable will have three co-chairs: Mr. Jenkins, who is Chair of OpenText Corporation; Arvind Gupta, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia; and Anne Sado, President of George Brown College and Chair of Polytechnics Canada.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, has agreed to serve as Honorary Patron of the Business/Higher Education Roundtable.
“The post-secondary education community has a good track record of working with employers to stay ahead of labour market demands,” said Ms. Sado. “But the unprecedented speed of change in our knowledge economy requires us to engage differently, so we can be more efficient and responsive in our planning and innovation. The Business/Higher Education Roundtable will enable us to collaborate in helping young Canadians secure good jobs and a bright future.”
The Roundtable will also work towards improving life-long learning and strengthening research and innovation linkages between large companies and institutions.
“Continuous education and research partnerships work best when collaboration is meaningful and routine,” Dr. Gupta said. “This requires regular engagement between post-secondary institutions and companies. The Business/Higher Education Roundtable gives us an opportunity to make connections and build on existing relationships.”
Today’s announcement comes on the eve of a one-day conference in Ottawa, Creating Opportunities: Jobs and Skills for the 21st Century, hosted by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The conference will bring together business leaders, government officials, educators and young people to explore solutions to the challenges facing the next generation of Canadian workers.