There was a time when finding a job in your chosen profession after graduation meant your school days were behind you forever, but for many of us in the modern workplace, those days are long gone. An expanding international economy has made it more essential than ever for employees to hone their skills through life long learning.

“To compete and succeed in a fast-paced economy, Ontario's workforce must be equipped with skills and opportunities that meet all the requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow,” insists Denis Gravelle, Chair of the Faculty of Continuing Education at Seneca College. “We need to make sure that the newest generation of workers have the skills that companies want by bridging the gap from education to occupation.”

Flexible learning

Gravelle points out that taking courses through part-time Studies is particularly appealing to full-time employees because of the flexibility it offers. “For individuals who are currently employed, it’s very difficult to go back to school full-time," he says. "Studying part-time provides an opportunity to gain or upgrade new skills in a flexible way. Students can choose from mornings, evenings, weekends, online, hybrid, or accelerated learning.”

He also notes that a key component of a successful part-time program is ensuring that the institution offers relevant, trend-conscious courses that respond to the needs of contemporary businesses and their workforces. “To be certain our courses are relevant, we rely on many things—we take a look at labour market demand and see where the jobs and opportunities are, we talk to employers to see what skills they’re looking for, and we have program advisory committees that study the curriculum and make sure the courses really teach the skills required for people to get jobs in their chosen field. Finally, we work with a lot of organizations, including municipal, provincial, and federal governments, to look at what they think are the trends are in business and employment.”

Courses in touch with tomorrow

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest trends in the Canadian and international economy is the influence of information technology. According to the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), the digital economy has grown by an astonishing $2.43 billion since 2016. The ICTC predicts that emerging technologies will have a powerful influence on business success and employment prospects in the future.

Several of Seneca’s newest courses reflect the phenomenal growth of the digital economy and the expected demand employers will have for talented, tech-savvy employees. Along with programs like Cyber Security and Web Programming & Development, Seneca will also be offering HCNA (Huawei Certified Network Associate) certification in partnership with Huawei, one of Canada’s leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions providers.

“Cybersecurity is of huge importance for any type of business; whether it's a business of one or a large corporation, because protecting customer data is a prime concern for companies today,” says Gravelle.

Another set of courses at Seneca explores blockchain, an innovative technology that stores information in a decentralized database,  which will likely have a massive impact on Canada’s economy. The ICTC estimates that by 2024, Canada’s blockchain market will reach $2.5 billion and create over 100,000 jobs. “To respond to the interest in this new technology, we’ll be offering a series of workshops focused on blockchain, security, and digital transactions. The workshops will be ideal for individuals who work full-time as they're available in 2-day blocks,” explains Gravelle.