On September 16, 2020, Sask Polytech launched a new school—the School of Continuing Education. Designed to meet the needs of business and industry, the school is focused on professional development, microcredentials and corporate training.
Sask Polytech sees how technology is disrupting industry, and they want to be on the forefront of that change. “We created the school during a time of unprecedented change in our province,” says Paul Carter, dean at the School of Continuing Education. “And not only because of the pandemic. The change is coming from the workforce and industry.” He also notes that the Saskatchewan 2030 Growth Plan is also integral to the school. The plan’s priorities include the dramatic increase in technology in the coming decade, especially in agriculture and the mining and resource sectors. “Data science, artificial intelligence, web development and internet security is creeping into all industries, and we need to ensure that learners, especially those already in careers, can get the skills they need to stay agile in today’s workforce.”
While the School of Continuing Education is new, many of the offerings are established industry training components. The school has longstanding relationships with many organizations, including the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA). The SCSA has worked with Sask Polytech for years to develop courses that support ongoing learning in the construction sector. The relationship began when the SCSA and Sask Polytech wanted to integrate safety learnings into existing programs. “That work would lead to the incorporation of the Safety Construction Orientation Training (SCOT®) program, within Sask Polytechnic programming,” says Collin Pullar, president, SCSA. “Today, safety is well integrated into the construction programs offered at Sask Polytech, and we have developed courses with Sask Polytech to support ongoing training for our sector.
The SCSA has also worked with Sask Polytech on the course content for the Bachelor of Construction Management program—an online degree program perfect for people already in a career that are looking to improve their skillset. “The BCM program is a great example of upskilling or reskilling with Sask Polytech, that has been great for our sector,” says Mark Novecosky, board chair, SCSA. “The construction industry has identified the need for management skills in its workforce. Now the SCSA and Sask Polytech are developing a microcredential to further teach that expertise. “There is a gap in our sector when it comes to management and leadership, especially as we manage the coming wave of retirements,” says Novecosky. “Now, we’re working on a new program for leadership in construction, which is definitely needed and another way the School of Continuing Education is helping our sector advance.”
The School of Continuing Education offers a variety of courses and programs and will continue to develop its offerings based on industry needs. “We’re meeting learners where they are to deliver the programs they need,” says Carter. “And we’re open to industry partnerships, like the one we have with the SCSA to develop credentials and training that are needed by businesses and organizations across the province.”
Learn more at saskpolytech.ca/coned