Before the federal government closed applications for the Future Skills Centre—an arms-length government initiative aimed at pre-empting a labour market crisis—LinkedIn sent letters of support to each consortium that stands a chance of winning the bid for the $363-million fund. “This is the way we can have the most impact, by far,” Jake Hirsch-Allen, head of LinkedIn’s education umbrella in Canada, told The Logic of the company’s move to partner on the initiative.
Collaborating with the centre would be a boon for the Microsoft-owned company, which has made closing the skills gap part of its mandate through LinkedIn Learning, its education-focused branch. Indeed, it could be the company’s Trojan Horse into every corner of the country-wide labour-force retraining effort.
But some are raising concerns that the Future Skills Centre may be destined for trouble by self-selecting only institutions that can manage such a large sum of money, and by a system that could put the training focus in the hands of private corporations, like LinkedIn.