Lakehead University’s new Global Skills Opportunity projects help students gain career-boosting experience

For immediate release: November 25, 2021


Lakehead students will gain global skills through two new projects funded by the Government of Canada’s Global Skills Opportunity Program. 

Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) is a national outbound student mobility program that is expected to enable more than 16,000 Canadian college and undergraduate-level university students from across the country to acquire the global skills that employers want and the Canadian economy needs.

A key component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy, Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and is administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada.

The New Horizons Project and the International Research Mobility Experience (IRME) Project will run through March 2025, providing new sources of funding to support international mobility experiences for Lakehead´s undergraduate students. 

While open to all Canadian post-secondary students, the national program targets groups for whom international experiences have traditionally been less accessible — specifically Indigenous students, students from low-income backgrounds, and those with disabilities. It also aims to diversify destination countries where Canadian students pursue international learning. 

New Horizons: Global skills, Indigenous Knowledge, and Student Mobility Project

Lakehead International was successful in securing nearly $500,000 from the GSO program for its New Horizons Project.

The goal of New Horizons is to provide opportunities for Indigenous students and low-income students to develop international experience and cultural intelligence, expand their knowledge of issues relevant to Indigenous peoples globally, and to provide students access to innovative and culturally relevant supports, resources, training, and financial backing needed to participate in international mobility opportunities. 

The program will send students on short-term and one-semester study abroad courses and programs to partner universities in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Finland, Mexico, and Norway. Some courses already exist, while others may be developed. All programs are coordinated with Lakehead’s partners and each will inspire students to see their world differently, learn intercultural skills, and build a brighter future.

International Research Mobility Experience (IRME) Project

The CALAREO Consortium, whose members include Lakehead, Vancouver Island University, Carleton University, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), and Memorial University, was awarded a grant of $799,200 to launch the International Research Mobility Experience (IRME) project. The CALAREO Secretariat is based at Lakehead and will administer the IRME Project.

Co-funded by Mitacs ($240,000) and CALAREO ($40,000), the IRME Project will sponsor an estimated 138 undergraduate students to participate in various research-focused mobility opportunities, including medium- and short-term research internships/co-ops, as well as faculty-led programs.

GSO also offers targeted funding and services for underrepresented students, specifically Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and low-income students. CALAREO partners in Mexico and Colombia will collaborate to offer research internships and ensure inclusive opportunities and support services. 

With its focus on non-traditional destinations in Latin America, the project will also develop a promotional strategy for the region, based on the results of the student survey funded by the 2020-21 GSO Outbound Mobility Pilot Project.

“The GSO Program funds transformative projects for our students to experience life-changing international mobility opportunities,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation and Chair of the CALAREO Consortium.

“We thank the Government of Canada and Mitacs for their financial support for these projects. International education and research collaborations are extremely important to tackling the large challenges for society today. Through this program we will be able to foster those opportunities for our undergraduate students,” Dr. Dean added.

Compared to similar countries, fewer Canadian students – only about 11 per cent of university undergraduates and three per cent of college students – participate in work or study abroad experiences during their studies.

The new program will change that. By empowering post-secondary institutions to implement innovative solutions to barriers to participation, Global Skills Opportunity will expand the horizons of Canadian students from coast to coast, and improve Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage.

“Global Skills Opportunity is breaking down financial, social and logistical barriers that have prevented too many underrepresented students from participating in global study and work opportunities,” said Paul Davidson, President, Universities Canada.

“Through this ambitious and ground-breaking program, thousands of young Canadians will have transformational experience abroad. Their newfound global perspective and skills will inform the way they live and work for decades to come.”




For more information:






Lakehead New Horizons Project: 

James Aldridge
Vice-Provost, International


Jill Sherman,



Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8110 ext. 8372 or