Digital Skills for Youth

Digital Skills for Youth

Hired someone 15-30 on contract? You might be eligible for up to $26,000 to subsidize related costs.

About the program

Digital Skills for Youth

You might have hired a youth or looking to hire one, you can benefit from subsidized salary costs and help build our talent pool.  

The program will:  

  • Match underemployed youth with SMBs and not-for-profits in digital related roles,  
  • Provide digital skills training so youth can successfully transition to the workforce,  
  • Increase employability and marketability of youth.  

The Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) program, funded by the Government of Canada, and delivered by Innovate BC, provides up to $26,000 for digital skills training so youth (aged 15-30) can successfully transition to the workforce.   

The program helps to increase the employability and marketability of youth in British Columbia, as well as match underemployed youth with B.C. SMEs and non-profits in all regions of the province. 

Program eligibility

Employer Eligibility

To participate in the Digital Skills for Youth Program, an Employer must:

  • Be a B.C. based company or non-profit, 
  • Have less than 500 employees, 
  • Complete the digital skills training plan for the hire, 
  • Must provide formal training, paid or complementary, to support the hires tech role.
  • Have not received a Digital Skills for Youth grant from Innovate BC or another program delivery partner after April 22, 2020.

Youth Eligibility

To participate in the Digital Skills for Youth Program, the youth must:

  • Must be between 15-30 years old,
    • Contracted for a 4-12 month period 
    • Must be a contract employee 
  • Contracted between April 22 and Dec 1, 2020,  
  • Needs to have completed the contract or have been contracted  in order to receive approved funding, 
  • Does not need to be currently working at the company, 
  • Must be working in a technology related position or supporting digital work:  
    • Digital Marketing 
    • Web design 
    • Programming/Coding  
    • AI 
    • Automation 
    • Big Data  
    • Cybersecurity  
    • UI/UX  
    • AR/VR  
    • 3D Printing  
  • Cannot be a university or college co-op or intern student
  • Not be in receipt of EI during the course of the work placement,
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada,
  • Self-assess as underemployed, meaning they are employed below their level of education and/or hold part-time employment, or are unemployed.

Youth who self-identify as women, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), member of an official language minority community, new immigrant, refugee, a person with a disability, a visible minority or LGBTQ2S+ or who live in a rural or remote location, will be given special consideration.

Key dates:

It takes approximately 4-6 weeks from application submission to final approval for funding.

  • Approval requires the completion of the digital skills training plan for the youth,
  • Funding is reimbursed once the company has made any payment,
  • Funds can be paid month-to-month or after the completed working contract,
  • Application deadline is January 15, 2021,
  • Reimbursement deadline is February 28, 2021.

How long does it take to process an application?

Each step in the application process (I.e. Company Application and Project Plan & Budget) is processed within 15 business days. The Employer will be notified of their application status via email shortly after review.

Are there any timing considerations?

In order to qualify for the 100% wage grant, the final reimbursement claim for Employers approved between April 2020 and February 2021 must be submitted by February 28th, 2021. Claims submitted after February 28th, 2021 will not be considered. Only costs incurred on or before February 28th, 2021 will be eligible for reimbursement, any costs after this will not be considered.

Can I apply to receive a Digital Skills for Youth grant before I hire a Youth Intern?

Yes! You can receive conditional approval and once you hire the Youth Intern, you will be required to provide student information. Please note, the usual eligibility requirements concerning youth roles for work placements still stand.

Can I apply after the work term has ended?

Yes! This is another great benefit of our program. You can apply for a grant retroactively for work terms that occurred in the past, with a start date no earlier than April 22, 2020.

Any placement that began before April 22, 2020 is not eligible for retroactive approval.

If I have hired or plan to hire a Youth Intern for longer than 4 months, is my company still eligible to participate in the Digital Skills for Youth Program?

Yes. In fact, we highly encourage longer work placements to enrich the learning and employment experience. The Employer would be eligible for up to a maximum of $17,000 to cover direct labour/salary expenses incurred during the duration of the placement. Only costs incurred for months worked before February 28th, 2021 are eligible for reimbursement.

Are we eligible for Innovate BC’s Digital Skills for Youth grant if we received a Digital Skills for Youth grant from another organization in the past?

In order to be eligible for Innovate BC’s Digital Skills for Youth grant, the Employer must have not received a Digital Skills for Youth grant from Innovate BC or another program delivery partner after April 22, 2020.

Are we eligible for a grant if we received other funding for the the Youth Intern?

Yes, grant stacking is permitted as long as the combined value of all grant funding does not exceed the youth’s salary, training expenses and participant costs.

How long do I have to identify and hire a Youth Intern once I have received conditional approval?

Employers should try to hire a Youth Intern as soon as possible in order to get started with the project and meet the requirements of the placement. Conditional approval cannot be deferred from one fiscal year to another. Only costs incurred after the start of the internship and before February 28, 2021 will be eligible for reimbursement. For example, if you received conditional approval in October 2020 and you did not hire a student until January 2020, you will only be able to claim reimbursement for costs incurred from January to February 28, 2021.

What do I need to do once I’ve received approval?

In order to receive the funds, Employers will need to have done four key things:

  1. An Employer must hire a Youth Intern and the Youth Intern must complete digital skills training prior to the completion of the work placement,
  2. Employers are required to provide the Youth Intern’s contact information and follow up with them on the completion of the Intern Application,
  3. Employers must submit reimbursement claim forms with all supporting documents,
  4. In order to receive final reimbursement, both Employers and Youth Interns are required to fill out a satisfaction survey and post-placement form. Survey responses will not in any way impact the company’s eligibility for reimbursement. Both Employer and Youth Intern satisfaction surveys and forms are compulsory.

When will I receive the funds?

Employers can begin submitting reimbursement claims at least one month after the start of the work placement and every month thereafter.

Reimbursement claims will be reviewed and payments issued within 4-6 weeks of receipt via direct deposit.

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