Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Announces $2.4M Blue Futures Pathways Project – Project to Create 150 Internships, Engage 250 Employers and 2500 Youth 18-30 Years

Project to Create 150 Internships, Engage 250 Employers and 2500 Youth 18-30 Years


Today, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced a new innovation ecosystem project called Blue Futures Pathways Project. Focused on building capabilities and the development of workers to support the growth of Canada’s ocean economy, the total project value is $2.4 million where the Ocean Supercluster will provide almost $1.5 million in funding with the balance coming from project partners.

Blue Futures Pathways will connect youth across Canada with education and employment, and support participants in developing a successful career in the sustainable blue economy. The project is supportive of all youth aged 18-30 and will have a particular focus on the inclusion and inspiration of under-represented, remotely located, and Indigenous people.

The project is led by the Students on Ice Foundation with partners including the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), ECO Canada, and with the support of Mitacs. Together they will create 150 internships and guide youth towards sustainable blue economy careers, building and launching a digital platform called the Port where employers and supporters can communicate opportunities to the next generation of workers.

The Port will provide employers with tools, training and a support-network in how best to nurture youth, especially under-represented youth within their workplace. Participants will also receive training to prepare them for the specific dynamics and culture of the workplace where career-specific and personal growth-related mentorship connections will be cultivated on a dedicated program on the Port.  Mentorship will also form a strong part of the paid internships that will be piloted in a number of regions across the country. Blue Futures Pathways intends to provide youth with opportunities within ocean tech companies in Nova Scotia; engaging youth across the Arctic in monitoring ocean health; providing an understanding of suburban waste-water management in Ontario and the Prairies; and training the next generation of bio-monitors in British Columbia.

The Blue Futures Pathways project aims to engage at least 250 employers on the digital port, with at least 2,500 youth engaging in the sustainable blue economy training, mentoring, and employment opportunities made available through it. The target reach for the Port is 5 million impressions by August 2022.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is an industry-led transformative cluster that is growing Canada’s Ocean economy in a way that has never been done before. Focused on tackling the shared challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program, the Ocean Supercluster is accelerating the development and commercialization of globally-relevant solutions, creating new economic activity, and building a highly-capable, inclusive workforce.



“I am proud to see Canada’s Ocean Supercluster forging an exciting path for one of our most important resources – Canadian youth.  The Blue Futures Pathways program will inspire Canadian youth and help them access opportunities to lead and succeed in the emerging Sustainable Blue Economy.”

– William Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“This is about helping build our future in oceans and equipping young people aged 18-30 with the right skills at the right time, removing barriers and providing the training, mentoring and support they need to pursue a career in ocean. We are proud to make an investment of $1.5 million to this $2.4 million project that will see the creation of 150 internships, and engage at least 250 employers and 2,500 youth in the digital port.”

Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“As the Sustainable Blue Economy emerges in Canada, it is important for youth to be well-positioned to participate in, and lead its success. Students on Ice is a global leader in environmental education and youth engagement, with more than 20 years of experience leading educational expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctic, and across Canada’s vast coastline during Canada C3. Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, educators and partners to learn about and help conserve our vital ecosystems is core to our mission. We look forward to  growing our impact on youth and on the future of Canada’s ocean and freshwater resources through Blue Futures Pathways.”

– Geoff Green, C.M., Founder & President of the Students on Ice Foundation

“We are enthusiastic about the benefits of this project to the broader workforce development needs of the industry across Canada. We look forward to partnering with SOI and the other named partners, such as ECO Canada, to elevate the opportunities for youth, and particularly youth from under-represented workforce groups, to gain exposure to and experience with the ocean and freshwater industry through robust training, internship and mentoring programs.”

Dr. Sherry Scully, Executive Director, COVE Workforce Initiative

“ECO Canada (ECO) is pleased to offer our support for Blue Futures Pathways. This exciting initiative involving education, internship, employability and workforce training is a direct response to current workforce needs within the Sustainable Blue Economy and we are happy to harness our team’s talents, expertise and networks to ensure a successful project outcome.”

Kevin Nilsen, EP, PMP, President & CEO, ECO Canada

“QIA is proud of our work to protect our oceans and we relish opportunities to work with  organizations who celebrate the centrality of Indigenous voices in conservation efforts. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Students on Ice to allow even more Inuit youth to explore educational, mentorship and employment opportunities connected to the blue economy.

– P.J. Akeeagok, President, Qikiqtani Inuit Association

“The Blue Futures Pathways Project will enable First Nations youth to be exposed to a range of sectors in the Blue Economy including shipping, science, fishing, tourism, conservation, technology, renewable energy, food security and policy. We must equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to mutually benefit from these resources. The Assembly of First Nations is pleased that the Blue Futures Project will provide First Nations youth with education and training to develop the skills they need for sustainable careers. We are in support of SOI’s Blue Futures Project as it supports a sustainable future for all generations to come.”

– Perry Bellegarde, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations

“I am honored to contribute to the Blue Futures Pathways project that will specifically focus on eDNA education and application in indigenous communities, which will be carried out through a series of internships opportunities. In doing so, I will help to develop and deliver training packages, coordinate the genomic analysis of samples acquired, and provide outreach to communities to explore how this new technology can assist their management, regulation and policy decisions pertaining to fisheries and industries that impact ocean ecosystems. I look forward to supporting the SOIF on this exciting project empowering indigenous youth to become leaders of the blue economy.”

– Kristi Miller-Saunders, PhD, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Media Contact:

Nancy Andrews

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster