Getting Schooled: Regional Colleges Ready to Reskill You

CCA Students in Wynyard. Photo by Carlton Trail College
CCA Students in Wynyard. Photo by Carlton Trail College.

Carlton Trail College

Our region is rich in human resources,” says Shelley Romanyszyn-Cross, Carlton Trail College CEO. “And with the ability to offer distance learning and continuing education opportunities for students, business, and industry, we’re committed to helping individuals develop the skills they need to be successful—wherever they are.”

Located in east-central Saskatchewan, Carlton Trail College offers a range of skills and trades training, Adult Basic Education, and English language learning programs. Over the last several years, they have also developed partnerships with ed2go and The Learning Network, two of the largest providers of online training and education programs. “The appeal of distance and online learning is the flexibility it provides to gain new personal and professional skills,” says Romanysyn-Cross. “It allows for short-term, continuous upskilling that can be applied to a variety of careers.”

Further complementing a range of individual distance learning opportunities is access to a variety of online, workplace safety courses. With busy manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors, courses such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), Safety Construction Orientation Training (SCOT), and Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) are always in demand.

Ensuring these types of courses could continue to be offered was a priority for the college when transitioning to adapt to the recent impacts of COVID-19. The move to prioritize remote learning required the collaboration of professionals across the organization, resulting in program continuity and increased institutional resilience.

This fall, Carlton Trail College intends to deliver its programs and courses through a blend of in-person and distance learning methods, including online delivery. As Saskatchewan re-opens, the college is prepared to accommodate existing public health measures through smaller class sizes, remote learning capabilities and adaptable services. “For working adults and regional employers,” says Romanyszyn-Cross, “it’s reassuring having a trusted educational partner provide access and support to high-quality training opportunities. We’re here to help individuals and industry achieve their goals.”

Southeast College

The southeast corner of the province is no stranger to continuing and distance education. The College has been providing post-secondary education to learners looking to advance or start careers for decades. “Lifelong learning is a motto I live by,” says Jody Holzmiller, Vice-President, Education & Training at the college. “Depending on what chosen career path people are on, Southeast College could certainly help them develop their skills and increase their knowledge base.” Southeast offers a variety of programs for people looking for a wholesale career change. Continuing education opportunities include courses that help hone business and management skills, and courses for general interest. “Even our general interest courses can have an entrepreneurial bent, such as repurposing cutlery into jewelry, or learning the art of stained glass—both can lead to selling creations.”

The pandemic also led to rapid change for the college. “With the onset of COVID-19, our world in education changed rapidly. Tech and trades colleges are traditionally more ‘hands on learning’ than university, so it has and will continue to present some challenges,” says Holzmiller. “Southeast College pivoted very quickly as a result of COVID-19, and managed to successfully complete all of its full-time programs while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff.” The college plans to run all advertised classes in Fall 2020, pending sufficient enrollments, although the method of delivery will be blended. “We will have students on campus to complete necessary hands-on learning and will deliver the theory portion of their program via technology with some live interactions with instructors and classmates.”

Holzmiller sees the advantages in the college’s regional focus and smaller size. “Especially now with COVID-19, our smaller student body means we can control traffic quite easily, scheduling breaks at different times and scheduling staggered start and end times. Students can be confident that they will continue to get excellent service and support from our college staff and instructors, all while keeping everyone’s health and safety a top priority.”