Dr. Sheila LeBlanc
President, CAUCE & Director of Continuing Education, University of Calgary
Graduate, Diploma in Public Relations and Communications Management, McGill School of Continuing Studies
Graduate, Public Relations Certificate Program, Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies
Upskilling or reskilling through continuous education is necessary to adapt to an ever-changing workforce and for career satisfaction.
Whether you are a new Canadian, a displaced or unemployed individual, in an entry-level position or ready for a mid-life career change, the need to be prepared for the future of work is more pressing than ever before. The member institutions of the Canadian Association of University Continuing Education (CAUCE) recognize emerging trends including new technologies and offer flexible programs designed to help adult learners upskill and reskill to compete in today’s workplace.
What is upskilling and reskilling? Upskilling refers to the continuous acquisition of new knowledge in a current field of practice, which helps individuals stay relevant. Reskilling is the opportunity to learn a new set of skills, especially for those looking to pursue a new career direction. By offering short-term programs, called micro-credentials, Continuing Education departments across Canada are well-positioned to help fill skill gaps for those in the workplace.
According to Dr. Sheila LeBlanc, president of CAUCE and director of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary, “Upskilling and reskilling are not new concepts and are now considered necessary for individuals to adapt quickly to an ever-changing workforce and for personal career satisfaction”.
Upskilling and reskilling helped recent graduates launch new careers in public relations. Kristel Véliz, McGill School of Continuing Studies graduate had a master’s degree in political science and government experience, but when she decided to reorient her career to specialize in public relations, she needed to upskill. According to Véliz, “Doing a Diploma in Public Relations and Communications Management at McGill gave me the skills and confidence I needed to relaunch my career and when I graduated, I was hired at the Government of Canada. The value of upskilling? Priceless.”
A micro-credential from Simon Fraser University (SFU) helped Cirque du Soleil acrobat Laura-Ann Chong leap into an alternative career when the pandemic shut down live performances around the world. Chong completed the nine-week Public Relations Certificate program online at SFU Continuing Studies in 2020 and now serves as a public relations manager for the Fairmont luxury hotel group. Her training at SFU was invaluable, she says: “It made me believe that I can do this.”