Digital Skills for Youth

Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) is a new federally funded initiative from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada providing an opportunity for youth to gain the skills and experience needed for today's digital economy.

UCalgary is one of several organizations to offer Digital Skills for Youth across the country

Digital Skills for Youth is an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. It is part of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy and aligns with the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan to make Canada a world leader in innovation and create well-paying middle-class jobs.

Continuing Education and Career Services are collaborating to deliver a unique online program for eligible participants across the Prairie Provinces. Students will be able to choose from nine different pathways of unique course combinations that meet the program requirements, all of which are available online. Continuing Education will also support the training aspect of the program, whereas Career Services will be responsible for recruiting employers and coordinating the internships.

The program is open to:

Recent Post-secondary Graduates

Eligibility Requirements 

  • 15-30 years of age at the start of the internship
  • Not in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI)
  • Self-assess as underemployed, either employed below their level of education and/or hold part-time employment
  • Has completed a diploma or degree
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada, for the duration of the internship
  • Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Refugee

NOTE: Students currently pursuing post-secondary studies are not be eligible and those on post-graduation work permits are not eligible

Profit or Non-profit Organizations

Eligibility Requirements 

  • Qualified employers with less than 500 employees are eligible to receive a 50% wage subsidy up to $10,500 to support interns in the DS4Y Program
  • Non-profit organization are eligible for a 75% wage subsidy
  • Able to provide a six-month internship for a minimum of 30 hours per week

Program highlights

  • 50% wage subsidy available to all qualifying employers, up to $10,500
  • 75% wage subsidy available to all qualifying non-profit employers, up to $10,500
  • 130 internships are available with 65 in each of year one and year two (cohort's end at the end of the fiscal year).
  • Online career development program with training on resume & cover letter writing as well as interview preparation for all participants.

FAQs for Employers

You can apply by registering via

If you have a CareerLink Account follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to your CareerLink account
  2. Click on 'Career Services' tab on the left hand navigation bar
  3. Click on 'Register – DS4Y Program' 
  4. After reading through the program information, Click on 'Apply' 
  5. Complete the registration form
  6. Click 'Next' and double check the information
  7. Click 'Finish Registration'

There is no limit to the number of interns a company can host. However, host companies must have the capacity to supervise and support the intern, provide each intern with a detailed project plan, job description with specific tasks and an assigned supervisor/mentor.

Once your organization has been screened and approved as an eligible employer, you can post your internship position for approval via CareerLink - DS4Y module. 

Employers who meet the following requirements can apply:

  • Provide your incorporation number
  • Submit a Detailed Project Plan for the specific work to be completed – must provide valuable employment experience related to digital activities
  • Submit the Intern Job Description to ensure there are clear expectations for the interns
  • Provide contact information for the assigned Supervisor/Mentor
  • Submit an attestation confirming:
  • o The number of current employees is less than 500
  • o Employment does not involve the participant working from their home
  • o Commitment to mentor the intern

Regular co-op and internship programs are for university students working towards a degree program. The DS4Y program involves individuals who have already graduated from a two-year diploma or a degree program within the past two years and self-identify as being underemployed because they lack the digital skills required for jobs today. This program will allow them to retrain and gain experience through an internship.

Employers will be able to add additional staff to their workforce to advance projects or short-term initiatives and receive a subsidy of 50% of an intern’s wages to a maximum of $10,500. Non-profits are eligible for a 75% subsidy to a maximum of $10,500. Employers who participate in Internship invest in the future of youth through training and development, mentoring, and by providing ‘real-world’ experience.

As an employer, you should apply to participate in this program through CareerLink and once you have been approved, you can start your recruitment activities.

Internship must be a minimum of 6 months / 900 hours.

The payment cannot exceed the minimum wage rate per hour mentioned in Canada Job Bank.

FAQs for Participants

Through Digital Skills for Youth Program, interns will get the following benefits, but not limited to:

  1. Build their professional networks
  2. Gain digital, entrepreneurial and personal skills
  3. Gain employment experience combining their core skills and digital skills
  4. Have access to additional training to enhance their career progression
  5. Opportunity to take part in a wage subsidy

The program will be running until March 31, 2020 with a total of 130 internships delivered. There will be two intake's for the program, each running a year long.

Participants have the ability to coordinate their own schedule and complete their courses online. Admissions will be accepted on a continuous intake until the program is full.

The minimum length of an internship is six months at 35 hours per week or 900 hours. An internship could be longer depending on the wages. All Internships are to be completed one month prior to the project end date of March 31, 2020.

The first intake of participants is anticipated for online courses beginning September 17, 2018. Continuous intake will proceed until the first 65 spaces are full. The second intake of 65 participants will begin in April 2019. Internship positions start date is expected to be November 1st, 2018. 

Training courses will be available in the following areas, but not limited to:

Technical skills:
• Coding - Computer Programming
• Web Development - Front End Web Development 
• Digital Media workshops - Integrated Digital Media 
• Marketing

Soft Skills:
• Communications
• Entrepreneurship 
• Strategic thinking

Participants & Employers can both apply online through Digital Skills for Youth.

Participants who meet the following requirements can apply:

  • 15-30 years of age at the start of the internship
  • Completed a diploma or degree
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada, for the duration of the internship
  • Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Refugee
  • Not in receipt of Employment Insurance during their internship
  • Self-assess as underemployed, either employed below their level of education and/or hold part-time employment

Once you are offered admission into the program, you can access job postings information on internships related to digital skills and posted by previously approved eligible employers through your CareerLink account. You will get access to CareerLink once you are registered in your training pathways. 

Internships will encompass a range of positions, including, but not limited to:

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Web Developer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Graphic Design Technician
  • Communications Assistant
  • Database Administration
  • Computer Programming/Software development

If you live within the Prairies Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba), you can apply through the University of Calgary. For information on other approved delivery organizations visit Digital Skills for Youth Program.