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Online learning might be the answer

Online_education

You’re settled into a rewarding career in the field of your choice. By rights you should be moving ahead and taking charge of others. But you’re stalled — or even uncertain that you have the skills to move into a supervisory role.

In other words, your leadership savvy is lacking. Fortunately, help is at hand courtesy of Ontario’s college system, which offers a considerable range of general and industry-specific leadership programs.

At Humber College there’s a new online Certificate in Leadership program available to anyone with a diploma or degree. Taught in three 15-week semesters starting in September, the diligent student could finish the program in a year, although all enrollees have two years to complete its requirements. Each course costs between $300 and $400.

Wanda Buote, director of Continuing Education at Humber’s School of Business, says employers want staff with management and supervisory skills. And with boomers leaving the workforce, companies want their younger employees to replace them — that’s where formal training comes in. There’s no substitute for on-the-job experience, but a year or two spent online or in a classroom is highly useful when a promotion beckons.

As well as the post-graduate program, Humber also offers a Leadership Skills Certificate through the Ontario Management Development Program. OMDP is part of OntarioLearn.com, a consortium of provincial colleges that have partnered to deliver programs online.

Sam Berton, chair of the School of Continuing Education at Centennial, says his Leadership Skills Certificate requires students to complete six courses, including Managing for Success, Human Relations, Critical and Creative Thinking, and How to Start a Small Business.

YOUR OWN PACE

Unlike the post-graduate certificate, Berton says there are no academic entry requirements. Students could finish their studies in a year, but have up to 10 years to complete them.

“The program is really pitched to students looking to upgrade their business qualifications because it’s widely recognized by the public sector, so it can jump start their careers,” Berton says.

The OMDP program costs about $300 a course and is popular with small business owners and the self-employed. It’s also popular with both sexes, Berton says, and his students range in age from the mid-20s to the mid-40s.

There’s something else about this program — and by extension others that are delivered online — that Berton wants to point out. “A lot of people shy away from online (learning) because they think you have to be techno-savvy.” However, it’s pretty straightforward, and Ontario- Learn.com provides technical support 24/7.

Terry Wu, director of the Management Development Centre at UOIT in Oshawa, says much of his university’s leadership training is embedded within other programs, such as its Healthcare Management Certificate. They also differ from the other schools in that a professor usually travels to a client to teach on-site. As well as the benefits of on-site learning, such as convenience, Wu points out that many of his school’s clients view such training as a good networking opportunity.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology program costs vary, since most of them are customized. What doesn’t vary, however, are UOIT’s academic requirements. Wu says students need a degree, or at least some post-secondary education, and the permission of their employers before they can enrol.

QUICK FACTS

– Many leadership programs are delivered online

– Individual courses cost about $300 each

– Academic requirements vary from school to school

For more information, visit OntarioLearn.com

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