New orientation program focuses on IT training, careers

Initiative aims to increase awareness to underrepresented groups

11/9/2021 10:28:17 AM

ST. JOHN’S, NL – A new program at College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is focused on underrepresented groups with the aim to eradicate barriers to post-secondary education and introduce students to career opportunities in Information Technology (IT).
The Information Technology Career Focus program enrolled its first class at CNA’s Prince Philip Drive campus this semester, with seats now available for January 2022. Key features of the program include an introduction to coding and app development along with computer support; career planning; personal and professional skills development; and, job shadowing.  

The primary targets for the 16-week pilot program are persons with disabilities and women who are looking for new careers or looking to re-enter the workforce; however, all equity-seeking groups (immigrants, Indigenous, older workers etc.) are encouraged to apply. 

“The overarching goals are to prioritize programming for underrepresented groups, to remove systemic barriers to accessing post-secondary education, and to address specific labour shortages and skills gaps in the Information Technology sector,” said Brenda Lockyer, Associate Dean for the School of Business and Information Technology.

Paul Preston, CEO of techNL, says this program comes at a time when there is an increased need for skilled IT workers in the province.

“The technology sector in our province is thriving and expanding at an explosive rate. A roadblock to our continued success is the availability of talent. Simply put, we need more people with the skills, education and experience to join our tech companies and enable their growth. Focusing on underrepresented groups will help expand and elevate the talent pool and ensure that everyone in our community has an opportunity to participate in this sector.”

The Information Technology Career Focus program is funded by Future Skills Centre as part of the Atlantic Colleges Atlantique’s College Transformation des Collèges Project. The project focuses on skills gaps in priority sectors that need to be addressed by the region’s post-secondary education system.

Olivia Heaney, Project Co-ordinator at CNA, has been using a model of continuous evidence generation to identify the best ways to ensure inclusivity at every step of the pilot’s development and iteration.

“Right from our needs assessment, our research has adhered to a set of human-centred design principles that mobilize community and industry knowledge,” said Heaney. 

For more information about the Information Technology Career Focus program or any other program at CNA, visit

The Information Technology Career Focus program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. Le Programme en Technologie de l’information axé sur les carrières est subventionné par le Centre des Compétences futures du gouvernement du Canada.

Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic