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Upskilling & Continuing Education

Why Learners at All Career Levels Are Turning to Continuing Education

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Learners from across Canada are turning to the flexible programs in continuing education to support all stages of their careers.

Whether you’re just starting out, upskilling, transitioning to a different industry, or launching a new career, a continuing education course or program can help you meet your goals. Learning has become more convenient and accessible than ever, with part-time and online options designed to fit your schedule, especially if you work full-time. 

The more than 50 institutions that make up the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE) are committed to this type of education. These universities offer programming to meet the complex needs of working professionals and to address in-demand learning needs in areas ranging from business and management to health and technology. 

Gain skills, not a degree

Instead of a traditional four-year undergraduate degree, you can often complete a continuing education program in a matter of months — and be ready to launch or advance your career immediately. You can choose individual continuing education courses to develop a specific skill set or work toward a credential, such as a certificate,
diploma, or micro-credential.

“Continuing education is an important access point for so many learners, particularly those looking for skills to establish or build a career,” says Carolyn MacLaren, Director of Continuing Education at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. “Some of our students come to us after they’ve completed a degree and some transition to completing a degree once they’ve established a career path that started with a continuing education program.”

Pivot your career

Thinking of changing careers? You’re not alone. Since the pandemic, surveys have found that a growing number of workers are looking for opportunities in new fields, either to follow a passion, find work-life balance, or pursue a more meaningful career. The right continuing education program or course can help you transition smoothly. 

“Many of our learners are planning to switch to a different industry or to reinvent themselves post-retirement,” says Julia Denholm, Dean of Lifelong Learning at Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies in Vancouver. “Whatever your goal, our goal is to ensure you take away the relevant tools and knowledge to succeed in your next career.”

Make a new start

Beginning a new life in another country is never easy, and finding work remains one of the biggest hurdles for newcomers settling in Canada. Continuing education programs can make the process easier through hands-on training that provides not only job-ready skills, but also a credential from a Canadian university. 

“Many newcomer students have told us that finding a job, acquiring professional development for a current position, upskilling, and reskilling are the top reasons they study with us,” says Lorraine Carter, Director of Continuing Education at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. “In addition to providing an exceptional learning experience, we also provide them access to resources that focus on career development, networking opportunities, and financial support to ensure that their integration into Canada is as smooth as possible.” 

Explore continuing education programs offered by CAUCE member universities.

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