Digital Skills for Youth

Digital Skills for Youth

Up to $26,000 to support B.C. youth in the digital skills economy

About the program

Digital Skills for Youth

The Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) program, funded by the Government of Canada, provides up to $26,000 for digital skills training so youth 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 SMEs and non-profits in all regions of the province.

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.


View select open positions for interns as part of the DS4Y program here.

Program eligibility

Employer Eligibility

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

  • Be established in B.C., as defined by being registered in BC and/or having a physical location within the province,
  • Be a small or medium-sized business or not-for-profit organization (under 500 employees), and
  • 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, a Youth Intern must:

  • Be between the ages of 15 and 30, inclusive, at the start of the internship
  • Be a post-secondary graduate (i.e. has completed a diploma or degree following secondary education),
  • Not be in receipt of EI during the course of the work placement,
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada (i.e. Canadian citizen, permanent Resident or person who has been granted refugee status), and
  • 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.

The Youth Intern’s position must be in a technology-related position or supporting digital work where the Youth Intern can develop on-the-job experience in the areas of:

  • AI
  • Automation
  • Big Data
  • Digital Marketing
  • Programming/Coding
  • Cybersecurity
  • UI/UX
  • AR/VR
  • 3D Printing

Key dates:

  • Year 1 application intake​: August 2020 – March 2021 
  • Deadline to apply for Year 1 funding – Feb 26, 2021
  • Deadline to submit final reimbursement claim – March 31, 2021
  • Cut-off for costs eligible for reimbursement – March 31, 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 March 31st, 2021. Claims submitted after March 31st, 2021 will not be considered. Only costs incurred on or before March 31st, 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 March 31, 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 March 31, 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 March 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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