(Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – June 27, 2019) Professional Quality Assurance Ltd. (PQA) and PLATO Testing (PLATO) have entered into a funding agreement with FedNor to continue to develop their software testing lab in Sault Ste. Marie, the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg. A primary focus of the lab is to provide software testing for lottery and gaming clients, creating a Centre of Excellence in software testing at the heart of Canada’s lottery and gaming industry.
Backed by PQA’s 22 years of experience in software testing, PLATO is a sister entity that was established in 2015 by industry veteran Keith McIntosh to address the technology talent shortage in Canada. McIntosh’s plan was to leverage underutilization of human resources in First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities across the country and develop a network of software testers by delivering a certified software tester training program and offering meaningful employment. Sault Ste. Marie presents a unique combination of talent and business opportunities, and PLATO has been operating here since late 2018.
“The work that has been done over the past six months in Sault Ste. Marie positions us well to serve a host of clients in the lottery and gaming sector,” said McIntosh. “With the head office of OLG and a thriving cluster of industry businesses surrounding it, we see massive potential for growth.”
Jennifer Rushton, VP Lottery and Gaming for PQA, has been working with industry contacts as well as with local talent to steward the first cohort of testing professionals through PLATO’s proprietary program, and has seen firsthand the potential of the PLATO program. “Our first cohort is finished their 15-week training course with an 80% completion rate. 82% of our students are already out in the field working with partners in embedded internship opportunities, learning more about the industry and the demands of software testing,” she said. “In addition, we have been carefully curating an advisory group of lottery and gaming professionals who will add industry knowledge and experience to the PQA/PLATO testing platform in order to create a highly specialized program that can satisfy the demands of the industry,” said Rushton.
The funding from FedNor will continue to support the development of necessary skills in this and future cohorts of testing professionals, positioning PLATO to offer specialized lottery and gaming testing services while providing a path to economic reconciliation through software testing. Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, quoted, “This is an important investment in the Indigenous Peoples of Northern Ontario that will help generate new business opportunities, support innovation and create good-paying jobs throughout the region. I am pleased that Sault Ste. Marie was selected as the base for PLATO’s latest training centre and I am proud of our government’s partnership with this forward-thinking Canadian tech company.
VP, Lottery and Gaming