Future of Work and Workers

Future of Work and Workers

AOn campus class cancelled for 2020. Check back for our online offerings.

The unprecedented convergence of the forces of globalization, urbanization, changing demographics and climate change are already fundamentally changing the way we live and work. While the continuous advancement of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Robotics have improved productivity and efficiency and increased convenience, they have raised concerns over the number of jobs being lost due to automation. Meanwhile the disruptive impact of the Sharing Economy which is being felt deeply by those in transportation and accommodation will continue to spread into other aspects of our lives and completely up end the traditional actors in these sectors and displace the jobs they provide. Further, the rapid developments in 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, The Internet of Things and Block Chain are set to also disrupt the manner in which goods are manufactured and services are provided. These will also have a knock-on effect on the configuration of supply chains globally and how business is conducted across a wide spectrum of sectors and industries. The full magnitude of the impact on jobs, work and workers is not yet fully understood.

Against this complex backdrop, there are very real concerns and anxiety among workers, organizations and governments about the future of work and the very nature of work itself. This requires a deeper understanding of the different changes underway, and which of these should be embraced, which should be resisted, and how best to prepare for the future that is unique for each individual, community and economy.

Starting with the history and evolution of the principle of ‘work’ and touching on topics such as the Industrial Revolution and the labour movement to provide some historical context and grounding, this ambitious two-week course will help participants better understand the magnitude and intensity of the current changes shaping the world of work and provide a peek into what is to come. While taking a global view on the issue, the course will also delve into specific examples and that are rooted in local contexts. Real-life case studies will be shared that draw on a wide range of contexts, from the informal sector in South Asia to the resource-based economy that has long been the backbone of Atlantic Canada, and the gig economy that is now so prevalent in the service sector, globally. The course will provide opportunities for meaningful interactions with a selection of dynamic leaders and thinkers, and include the perspectives of policy, industry, labour, community, academia, research and civil society. This will include exploring strategies such as the need for life-long learning, future-proof skills development, ideas around universal labour guarantee and social protection, as well as investments in green technologies.

Personal benefits

  • Understand the historical context of work and how it has evolved with each industrial revolution, along with the challenges, opportunities and responses from various stakeholders.
  • Build a clear synthesis of the impact of urbanization, changing demographics, climate change and other factors on the landscape of work globally.
  • Learn about the current trends and innovations in new and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Advanced Robotics, 3D Printing, Block Chain and The Internet of Things.
  • Develop a clearer conceptual framework of the implications of these technologies as well as other forces on the current and future jobs.
  • Learn about strategies and examples such as investments in building human capital, including skills development and life-long learning, labour market regulation and social protection.
  • Get connected to and network with like-minded individuals from various organizations around the world who are interested in the future of work and workers.
  • Get advice and tips from leading experts in the field on how to develop the critical skills and pivoting capability to advance your own professional and personal development.

Organizational benefits

  • Develop a sound understanding of the way the world of work is changing, both in terms of opportunities as well as emerging challenges from the rural and urban perspective.
  • Learn about different perspectives of the government, private sector, academia and the community on future of work and the role each could play going forward.
  • Develop strategies for a community centered response to the challenges including social inclusion of women, youth, indigenous people and other vulnerable workers through investments in skill building while enhancing social protection programs that are responsive and bring more security, stability and inclusion in the 21st century work environment.

Who should attend?

All those who are interested in work and workers, including government staff at the local, provincial and national levels responsible for labour, employment, skills, entrepreneurship, women and gender, employment services providers, labour unions and workers organizations, private sector, community-based organizations, NGOs and academic institutions and think tanks.


A mix of institutional and private donors who share Coady Institute’s vision of community-based, citizen-lead change subsidize the institute’s educational programs. As possible, Coady will provide qualifying candidates with a partial bursary to assist with course fees. However, all participants will be responsible for fees payable of at least $2,250 CAD, as well as travel and other costs. Fees are payable prior to the start of the selected course.

Full Bursaries of $2,250 towards costs are available from the Centre for Employment Innovation for eligible applicants from Nova Scotia. This includes applicants working for (or in a Board Director position in) a program or agency engaged in employment services delivery (priority is given to Nova Scotia Works centres) as well as those engaged in social innovation activities to alleviate poverty, strengthen livelihoods and create more equitable employment and entrepreneurial opportunities with and for systemically oppressed groups, including African Nova Scotians, People of African Descent, First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, and persons with disability.

Please note that Coady International Institute does not accept third party applications. Individuals need to submit their application via Coady’s website and should use caution when approached by those offering services to complete the application and admissions process.