16,000 +

research and innovation projects funded

$858M +

invested in the last 10 years

$250M

invested in 2019-20

33,000

researchers in our network

6,000 +

industry partners

117

post-secondary partners

6,000 +

international research internships

1,450 +

professional skills courses

22,000 +

training participants
Blog

Professional skills training

boosts research success

Takeaways

  • Many Canadian university students feel the academic skills they acquired through their studies don’t align with the professional skills that potential employers are seeking.
  • Participating in professional skills training programs can help remedy that disconnect and better equip university graduates for employment.
  • Mitacs’s programs offers training in professional skills that both students and employers find valuable.

Despite Canada’s rich research ecosystem, many university graduates feel they are lacking in career-development opportunities and the sought-after professional skills that would help them gain employment in the knowledge economy. This skills deficit, in turn, can negatively impact Canada’s innovation capacity.

To investigate further, in January 2016 Mitacs conducted a survey of 1,280 former participants in Mitacs’s professional-development courses. These graduate students and postdoctoral fellows had taken part in one or more courses over the preceding eight years, and those courses covered four competencies: leadership and management; communication and relationship building; personal and professional management; and entrepreneurialism.

The results of the survey speak to the ongoing demand for enhanced skills-training opportunities in Canada:

  • 79 percent of respondents said that their participation positively influenced their confidence and success in their current occupation — whether in academia, industry, or entrepreneurship
  • 75 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the knowledge and skills they gained through the courses positioned them for success in their careers
  • 84 percent continued to apply those skills and knowledge in a professional setting
  • 90 percent of participants would recommend Mitacs training courses to other graduate students

Despite Canada’s rich research ecosystem, many university graduates feel they are lacking in career-development opportunities and the sought-after professional skills that would help them gain employment in the knowledge economy. This skills deficit, in turn, can negatively impact Canada’s innovation capacity.

Respondents also ranked the value of the skills they acquired, which align closely with the skills that hiring managers are looking for. The Top 3 responses were:

1. Project management
2. Interpersonal skills
3. Presentation skills

The survey confirmed that skills-development courses complement the research and academic training students are receiving in Canadian universities, and help provide graduates with the skills they need to successfully transition into the workforce. And that, in turn, can better position Canada to deploy its research advantage. 

 

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Mitacs Team

Mitacs’s website content is created by people throughout our organization, united in their passion for innovation and eager to share their perspectives with others in the innovation ecosystem. 

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for over 20 years. Working with over 100 post-secondary institutions, more than 6,000 companies and not-for-profit organzations, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. 

Organizations we have worked with