Thanks for the question.
It's a big question. Recognizing, of course, the challenges around federal-provincial jurisdiction when it comes to education, I think there's still a lot the federal government can do and is doing.
I think working with young people is important. For instance, I know that one organization, Let's Talk Science, does a lot of great work with young people in encouraging K-to-12 students to engage in science, whether it's through science fairs or scientists in the schools and that sort of thing. Support for those kinds of organizations I think is really great.
I will make one statement, though. I think there is a risk in focusing too much on STEM to the neglect of broader skills. At Mitacs, of course, we work a lot with STEM students, but roughly 15% of our interns who go through now are actually from the social sciences and the humanities. Those creative disciplines have a lot to contribute to innovation, particularly once you start bringing multidisciplinary teams together, where you have engineers working with psychologists and with design people. This kind of mix of skills is important. While of course STEM is important in terms of creating people who have the tools to build disruptive technologies and so on, I think the creative disciplines are still really important. We don't want to neglect them.
I'll also say that, generally speaking, while we are doing a good job as a country with post-secondary attainment—we have one of the highest rates in the world of post-secondary graduation per capita—we do have blind spots, particularly at the higher levels. In terms of Ph.D. production, for instance, we're 20th in the OECD per capita. We just don't produce people at the highest levels of education, and I think we can do better on that.
Right through the post-secondary system, I think it's important to build in diversity so that all of our bachelor's graduates aren't going through exactly the same kind of training—and the same with master's graduates and Ph.D.s—but rather that we provide a diversity of opportunity, which you can do through co-op, internships, and other sorts of experiential learning.
To my mind, diversity, both in terms of disciplines and in terms of experience, is really important to creating a generation that has the necessary skills.