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Educational Options for Working Professionals

Educational options are constantly evolving in order to accommodate working professionals

Programs constantly evolving in order to accommodate professionals

Royal Roads University‘s approach to professional education has always been geared toward providing students with skills that address real-life requirements and the demands of the global marketplace.

This is why the MBA in Executive Management offers students the opportunity to specialize in Leadership, Management Consulting, International Business in Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment, or International Business and Innovation in

William Holmes, Dean of Faculty Management at Royal Roads University, explains that the program was designed for working professionals and has continually evolved to address the need for balance with professional and personal obligations.

An example of this is the option to complete the MBA program-—which usually takes 18 months—in 31 months. “It’s the same format in that each program begins with an intensive three-week session on campus, which is a benefit to students as they do the rest of the work online. During those three weeks they get to know each other on a face-to-face basis,” says Holmes. “The 31-month program—like the original MBA—concludes with a three-week on-campus session.”

Program enrolment has exceeded expectations. “We’re very pleased with the response.”

Another exciting change at Royal Roads University is the creation of the Doctorate in Business Administration, currently awaiting approval by the provincial government.

“With this doctorate, business students would receive a good balance between theoretical academic learning and practical learning. While they would take subject-specific courses in their areas of interest, the focus would be on finding a real-life business problem, then applying the knowledge they’ve gained at Royal Roads to develop practical solutions.”

Digital-first Custom Education

For years, businesses and professional organizations have struggled to provide engaging education for their entire teams, especially when those teams can be across Canada or around the world. Enter Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s leading expert on bringing people and ideas together regardless of where they are.  

Launched in April of this year, AU’s new Professional and Corporate Relations offerings “build on our history of partnering with organizations and learners around the world,” says Jessica Scott, Athabasca’s Director of Professional and Corporate Relations. AU takes a partnership approach to creating brand-new or modifying existing education programs. 

“This gives our partners the ability to align education to their needs and the needs of their teams,” says Scott. “The vast majority of companies have had challenges scaling education across their organizations—ensuring that everyone with a desire to learn and advance has the opportunity. We help by creating a digital strategy that aligns to their objectives, is inclusive, and has the ability to ladder into certificates, diplomas and even degrees. We can build pathways from micro-credentialing and badging 
through to doctoral programs. While the options are almost limitless, we start simple. We work to understand our partners and their needs—really get at their ‘why’ and build from there.

“We’re currently working with organizations that have skills gaps and are developing engaging and challenging programs custom tailored to them. We want to make learning applicable to each organization. Whether someone is learning about management or leadership, or digital literacy, it should be engaging, applicable and enjoyable.” 

Scott says: “Learning should never stop. The need to stay current has never been more critical. Canada’s shifting labour markets and universities have to be responsive to this, and we’re ready to lead the way.”

Innovative Strategies for Clients

Innovation has always been a hallmark of SFU Beedie School of Business, pertaining to everything from its MBA programs to its graduate diplomas and certificates.

But arguably, nowhere is innovation more apparent than in SFU Beedie’s Executive Education, which is currently being reinvigorated with a focus on custom tailored education for businesses and organizations.

Karmen Blackwood, SFU Beedie’s new Executive Director, Executive Education, explains: “Custom tailored education is a big part of our business model and it reflects our purpose of serving organizations in industries across a wide spectrum. It also addresses our need to help clients be nimble to the ever-changing needs of business.”

Professionals have goals that require specific education or training to achieve. “We work with them to identify the goals and whatever blocks prevent them from success and from there we design a program or solution that will help them achieve what they want,” says Blackwood.

The program is designed thanks to SFU Beedie’s decades of partnering with industry and business leaders, as well as a faculty whose acumen covers every conceivable form of business transaction.

“We have an incredible talent pool and by drawing on it we can create appropriate strategies for our clients—from short courses and workshops, to longer integrated programs, to dialogues and formal learning,” says Blackwood.

“We then determine with our clients the proper ways to deliver the program. It might be in a classroom setting, or online, or in a panel discussion format or a combination of different learning strategies.”

Blackwood—who has considerable experience in the private and public sectors—joined SFU Beedie earlier this year precisely because the institution is making huge strides in redefining the educational experience for professionals. 

“We’re developing programs for a host of industries and I couldn’t be more excited about where Beedie is going with executive education,” she says. “I like to think that we’re not so much about delivering programs as we are about delivering real impact.”

Camosun College Targets Cannabis Industry Training

Janice Hanna, Director of Continuing Education and Contract Training at Camosun College in Victoria, B.C., gives Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) full credit for the implementation of her institute’s new range of cannabis industry training courses.

 “By partnering with KPU, we were able to adopt the raw content of their curriculum, massage it to fit our audience, and deliver it to our students, who range from people interested in the health benefits of cannabis to those seeking careers in the industry,” she says.

 Camosun’s first course in its Continuing Education program, Growing Cannabis for Professionals, was launched in May. Students learn the requirements to produce cannabis for a licensed producer under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Topics covered include propagation, appropriate use of resources, crop management and troubleshooting.

 Camosun, which was founded in 1971, has two main campuses (Lansdowne and Interurban) and two off-campus sites (Belmont Secondary School and the Camosun Coastal Centre) that serve about 18,650 students annually in certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree and non-credit continuing education programs. There are over 200 courses offered in Continuing Education, which include online offerings.

 Growing Cannabis for Professionals, is delivered online by cannabis consultant and advocate Travis Lane. Currently under development is a second course that will pertain to cannabis growing facilities management; and based on the explosion of interest across Canada in cannabis as a legitimate industry, Hanna says other courses will soon follow and will be taught by industry experts, including Lane.

 Hanna notes that the timing is right for Camosun to formalize education in this field.

 “The rapid development of legalized cannabis for adult use as a legitimate Canadian industry,” she says. “Camosun’s role is to deliver education about the intricacies of this industry to communities.”