No tu­ition to worry about

Hol­land Col­lege ad­min­is­ters free on­line cour­ses for job seek­ers or those al­ready in work­place

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY DAVE STE­WART dave.ste­wart@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

Stu­dents only need to in­vest time, not money, in these on­line cour­ses ad­min­is­tered by Hol­land Col­lege.

Funded through Skills P.E.I., the col­lege is of­fer­ing more than 140 cour­ses through what it calls an e-force train­ing pro­gram that runs en­tirely on­line.

There is no class­room time and no cost, and stu­dents can com­plete their cour­ses on their own time.

An­gela Hodg­son, who works in the cus­tom­ized train­ing branch of the col­lege, said the cour­ses are geared to­ward small busi­nesses and their em­ploy­ees as well as job seek­ers or peo­ple sim­ply look­ing to up­grade their skills.

They cover things like so­cial me­dia, hu­man re­source fun­da­men­tals and, the most pop­u­lar one, Mi­crosoft Ex­cel.

“It’s def­i­nitely one of the num­ber one cour­ses,’’ Hodg­son said. “Peo­ple want that quick bit of lit­tle in­for­ma­tion to get them through a spread­sheet or to try and help them fig­ure out why they’re stuck in a cer­tain area.’’

The pro­gram is cur­rently free un­til March 31 when the pro­mo­tional pe­riod ends. A de­ci­sion on whether it will be ex­tended hasn’t been made yet, but any­one who en­rols prior to that date gets to com­plete the course.

Hol­land Col­lege didn’t de­velop the cur­ricu­lum. That was done by Blue­drop Per­for­mance Learn­ing, an e-learn­ing com­pany based in St. John’s, N.L.

Of the pro­grams, two of the course bun­dles are spe­cific to P.E.I. – so­cial me­dia and hu­man re­source fun­da­men­tals. Top­ics cov­ered in­clude sell­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices with so­cial me­dia and cre­at­ing and man­ag­ing a brand on­line, as well as em­ploy­ment stan­dards and oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety.

Through Skills P.E.I., the province iden­ti­fied the need for peo­ple in the work­place or try­ing to get into the work­place to up­grade their skills in a quick, sim­ple and cost ef­fec­tive way of do­ing it.

For ex­am­ple, an em­ployer with a two-per­son staff who can’t af­ford to send his work­ers off for train­ing could have them do it this way.

Hodg­son said for those in­ter­ested in en­rolling, the first point of con­tact is the web­site at www.efor­cepei.ca, which in­volves a three-step process to sign up.

At present, more than 5,000 peo­ple are tak­ing cour­ses at eforce train­ing.

“It’s a new pro­gram. It’s never been tried be­fore, so it’s cer­tainly at the level we would hope it to be at (and) it con­tin­ues to grow ev­ery month. Peo­ple are still en­gaged and in­ter­ested in im­prov­ing their learn­ing,’’ Hodg­son said.

Melissa French took the cour­ses and liked them so much she be­came the pro­ject co-or­di­na­tor at the col­lege.

“They’re fast and easy to do,’’ French said.

“I would def­i­nitely rec­om­mend it to brush up on stuff or to learn new stuff, too.’’

DAVE STE­WART

Melissa French, left, and An­gela Hodg­son, with Hol­land Col­lege’s cus­tom­ized train­ing depart­ment, say the e-force train­ing cour­ses that the col­lege ad­min­is­ters have not only been pop­u­lar but ben­e­fi­cial.

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