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Wednesday, 21 January 2015 16:19

Continuing Studies has a lot to offer those who want upgrades

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With the new year, there is always those thoughts of improving oneself in some manner. It could be to learn new personal skills, such as woodworking, conversational French or learning about Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism.


In this time of economic uncertainty, there are always new skills to learn from Occupational Health and Safety courses, bookkeeping, a variety of computer courses all the way to 4th class power engineering which can be considered equivalentto six months of power plant experience.
The sky is the limit for perspective students and imagination is the only limitation. People such as Cathy Crockford, manager of Continuing Studies, and Erin Ferris, a program administrator for Continuing Studies, are busy as the winter/spring course catalogues have been distributed and everyone is signing up.
With in-house courses, on-line courses, certificate programs and the like, Crockford says everyone is busy and many classes are filling up. (See: http://brochures.lerntools.com/pdf_view.cfm?id=2686).
“We don’t like to see a downturn in the economy, but this makes it busy for us,” explains Ferris. “They need an upgrade on something, they need a business course ... we can help with that. With it it slowing down, this is the time for businesses to get their staffs’ skills upgraded.
Crockford points out that businesses should look at it as it is a good time to get employees’ skill levels improved in a variety of areas. Job training is always a good thing for morale, productivity and overall company health. Companies can receive some financial assistance in doing so.
“The Canada Job Grant is enticing for supervisory or workers in company skills training,” explains Crockford. “The employers determine the training level they need.”
According to the college website the Canada-Alberta Job Grant for training from the government that will cover two thirds of the training costs. The Canada-Alberta Job Grant reimburses up to 66 per cent of the training cost up to $10,000 per individual. Employer must identify the skills an employee needs and submit online forms. Training must be a minimum of 25 hours, but this can include multiple courses being bundled to equal that amount of time. Training can be e-learning, part-time, full-time, on-site or in a classroom and must result in a form of credential. Employees must be a new or existing employees that will fill current of future job vacancies.
“We’re definitely willing to meet with companies to discuss their needs or what their options are,” adds Ferris.
Crockford notes the relationship between different industries and the college is solid. There are a lot of partnerships between different businesses and companies. Those industry leaders are telling them what they need business-wise for courses. It could be technology-based, leadership-themed courses or how to better handle stress or difficult situations.
Ferris says course instructors are well versed in different areas. For example, in computer courses, the instructors are trained to handle the newest programs.
“We’re never worried about keeping up. The training is there and we’re keeping up,” she explains.
Instructors are constantly watching for the new trends and are experts in their fields.They themselves are keeping administration updated on areas they want to teach.
“Trends in computers for example. We’re also watching social media. (Our instructor) has her ear to the ground.”
There are information sessions coming up including one next week. The Project Management Certificate Info Session takes place Jan. 29.
Besides those business-oriented ones, general interest personal development classes are popular as well as the general educational development (GED)/high-school equivalency classes or some of the Law at the Library information sessions taught at the Medicine Hat Public Library.
Those students looking for help with their education can find out more online at: https:// www.mhc.ab.ca/Services/PlanYourEducation/FinancialAid/Scholarships%20and%20Bursaries.aspx.
More information can be found at the Continuing Studies website online at:  www.mhc.ab.ca/ continuing-studies or people can phone the Continuing Studies office at 403-529-3844.
“If they have any ideas and a certain need in their industry or any interest, please let us know,” adds Crockford.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor