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Upskilling & Continuing Education

Why Canada’s Polytechnics Ensure That Learning Is Lifelong

Sarah Watts-Rynard, CEO, Polytechnics Canada 

Sarah Watts-Rynard

CEO, Polytechnics Canada 

In a fast-moving world, learning new skills and continually evolving have become essential — and herein lies the power of lifelong learning.

While the economy is cyclical — moving between expansion, peak, contraction, and trough — the reality is that a highly skilled workforce is always in demand. At every stage of the economic cycle, employers need workers who are capable of flexing to accommodate the challenges of the day, whether it’s implementing new technology, entering new markets, streamlining operations, or pivoting to a new business model. Regardless of the circumstances, skills simply don’t go out of style.


The appeal of continuing education 

Few people still believe that formal learning ends on graduation day. While barriers to lifelong learning remain, many Canadians are choosing to stay abreast of new developments in their industry or occupation, or pivoting to new careers and opportunities in growing sectors. Canada’s polytechnics report hundreds of thousands of registrations in continuing education courses each year, most with the implicit buy-in of employers.

In a recent study, we found that more than 90 per cent of Canadian workers and employers believe that skills development remains important regardless of the stage of one’s career. Nearly half of the 1,500 workers we surveyed said that lifelong learning has become critical for both job advancement and career change. Meanwhile, employers said that supporting lifelong learning among their employees improves competitiveness, increases retention, supports economic recovery, and facilitates internal job transitions. 

With the job market changing so quickly, it can be hard to know what skills will be important in the years ahead and where to go to develop them. As Canada’s experts in continuing education and lifelong learning, Canada’s polytechnics are a good place to start.

Learn what polytechnics have to offer.

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