The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life and business across the country and around the world and many people are off work or working remotely. While the majority of the population is cooped up at home, many people are beginning to ask themselves what they’ll do next, once the Coronavirus subsides.
To that end Quebec Minister of Labour Jean Boulet announced this week that the province has budgeted $100 million for new skills training of employees in the hopes of having a stronger and even more attractive workforce once the economy gets going again. This is especially important at a time when companies are likely to cut back significantly on this kind of discretionary spending as well.
However, the Quebec program will be done through employers. Which means people who are currently unemployed are likely ineligible. Furthermore, those seeking a career change need not apply… this program is only for those looking to “up-skill” in their current career.
Enter Lighthouse Labs. This nearly 7-year-old dev and data science school now operates in 6 Canadian cities, and has stepped up to the plate with $500,000 in scholarship money for individuals who are deciding to use this time in confinement to finally take the plunge and ready themselves to jump into a new career.
“It’s going to be $5,000 in scholarships off our full-time programs and $750 off our part time courses” said Jeremy Shaki, CEO of Lighthouse Labs in a call with MTLinTech. “Anyone who lost a job or a bunch of their hours have been cut, or has had school is cancelled for the time being, they are all eligible for these scholarships.” Although he did point out that under normal circumstances Lighthouse Labs only accepts about 33% of applicants to its programs.
Here in Montreal, this means about 50% off the cost of $10,500 full time developer course, and about 40% off a typical part time course at Lighthouse Labs Mile End campus. And they’ve made arrangements with lenders such as Desjardins to help prospective students get the funding they need to cover the rest. Of course now the company has pivoted entirely to e-learning because of the pandemic. “We had to switch to online and it had to happen pretty quickly. There were some operational challenges” He added. “Because of the nature of our business, we can do this online, and we are developers by trade, so we’re able to move ourselves online really quickly and build a really strong experience.”
The results speak for themselves. Lighthouse Labs has seen a 400% increase in applications in recent weeks. Shaki believes that timing is now right for many people who may have been considering a move like this for years, but have never had the time or the budget to dedicate themselves to this kind of multi-week bootcamp. That, combined with these new scholarships have led to a deluge of applicants knocking on their door, figuratively, of course.
The $500,000 will help between 100 and 200 students all across Canada. Shaki says his team will be looking to award the scholarships to the most deserving applicants in each market they serve. That being said the switch to remote learning does not mean that Lighthouse will be accepting 4x as many students. Shaki expects cohorts to remain roughly the same size moving forward, with 20-25 people in each. So there will be increased competition for this funding, and for acceptance to their programs in general. Applications are currently being accepted online.