U of M’s Extended Education courses offer the same high quality as degree programs— but are more flexible, targeted to meet job market demands, and often accessible across the country.

“In the digital world, we are less geographically-bound, and students are looking for this sort of programming, no matter where they are,” says Gary Hepburn, Dean of the Division of Extended Education at the University of Manitoba.

“We’re seeing significant increases in learners from other places in Canada and even outside of Canada,” he says." Even students who live in Winnipeg, where the school is located, often enrol online and part-time.

Adapting to change

Traditional programs such as human resources management remain popular, but cutting-edge fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and data science are becoming increasingly relevant. In response, Extended Education Division is now working on a certificate program to help workers adapt to AI in the workplace and in other programs, major assignments can be directly connected to their own workplace, providing a practical bridge between theory and practice.

Major technological changes, a globalized workforce, and the so-called “gig economy” are driving labour market shifts and much of the increased interest in continuing education.

Transition and transformation

A 2017 federal government advisory report identified the need to invest in a “third pillar” of education for adults, to support K-12 and post-secondary schooling and address these structural shifts. The University of Manitoba is responding to this need, as reflected in a 58 percent increase in their professional adult education registration from the 2015/2016 school year to 2016/2017.

“The ability of someone in the workforce to transition and transform throughout their career is increasingly important,” Hepburn says. “The workplace is transforming so quickly now that people really do need to be lifelong learners.”