Like a fine wine, we all like to think we get better with age. Indeed, many of us feel that we will excel the more time and experience we put into our profession. However, with an increasingly competitive job market driven by rapidly developing technology, experience alone may not be enough to advance your career.

The value of upgrading

For those looking to stay ahead of the curve, part-time learning can be an invaluable resource. “With the constantly changing work force, we need to consistently improve our skills, knowledge, and competencies to remain marketable in our careers,” says Michelle DeCoste, Dean, Centre for Part-Time and Online Learning at Centennial College. “We all want to remain relevant in our jobs. As our jobs evolve with the introduction of new technologies and new methodologies, we need to up-skill to meet those demands. Upgrading education is also important for people returning to work after a long absence or an individual who is in a career transition.”

Despite society’s increasing appreciation for lifelong learning, concerns about the time commitment required to successfully complete a course can make people hesitant to hit the books.

DeCoste points out, however, that part-time certificates and courses are designed with flexibility in mind. “One of the primary misconceptions of part-time learning is time. But we have many online learning courses in a continuing education mode to address the need to not be out of one’s home for a period of time. We also have courses that require a commitment of only one night a week or a weekend.” 

There is a growing acknowledgement among employers that keeping their employees’ skills sharp is vital for an organization to remain competitive. “Employers, in particular are seeing the value in continuing education and fostering a culture of lifelong learning within their organizations. They know it’s how they can be certain that their workforce continues to remain relevant and adaptable as their organizations, products and technologies change,” explains DeCoste.

Highlighting professional development

Centennial College prides itself on ensuring that they offer part-time courses that respond to the needs of the contemporary professional. “While we have a wide variety of courses, much of what we offer is to support professional development, to support individuals gaining industry level credentials,” notes DeCoste. “For example, in 2018 Centennial College will be offering Pathways to Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) in an accelerated, part-time mode.”

DeCoste is particularly excited about the Introductory Network Security course, which deals with planning, implementing and maintaining an organization’s firewall and network security policies—a  particularly relevant subject given the popularity of cloud-based storage for our personal and financial information.

The college’s professional development courses, however, extend past the needs of large businesses and the financial industry. “Another unique program we just launched at Centennial College is an accessibility training course for taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers,” says DeCoste. “The Accessible Vehicle Training course teaches drivers disability awareness, legal requirements, and practical methods for assisting passengers with disabilities and wheelchair assistance.” The two-day course is one of the few such programs authorized by the city of Toronto. Part-time courses in medical aesthetics, volunteerism, and condominium management are just a few more examples of the wide variety of continuing education classes in Centennial’s curriculum.

“When we say continuing education or part-time learning is for everyone, it truly is for a diverse and wide cross-section of professions, people, and interests,” DeCoste declares.  Find out more a