Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Developing training solutions with impact

Sask Polytech is a leader in providing quality education, online

As industries work to incorporate new technologies, adapt to new regulations and account for an aging workforce, the training needs of each industry also begin to change. In an effort to respond to these changing needs and provide industry with the training solutions that support their business, Sask Polytech has taken things online.

“In the trades, an apprentice must leave work every year for a period of six to nine weeks to attend technical training until they get their ticket three or four years later. Finding the employees to fill that gap can be hard for employers,” says Dalton Mervold program head, of the Parts Management Technician, Warehouse Worker, Leadership Skills and Blue Seal programs. “We’ve designed an online training program that essentially cuts that time away in half.”

What Dalton is referring to is the Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training (FIATT) program, which offers one or two weeks of theory training online that can be done before attending classes on-campus. But FIATT is only one of the ways Sask Polytech is developing online training solutions to better support industry. Online learning options are now available in a number of trades programs, including Parts Management, Plumbing, Electrician, Heavy Equipment Mechanic, Truck and Transport Technician. There are also online courses for individuals preparing to write the Red Seal exam in Carpentry, Industrial Mechanics, and Auto Service Technician, while Warehouse Worker and Occupational Practitioner offer certificate programs completely online.

“Many of our trades programs have evolved from a strictly on-campus delivery program to a flexible alternative that offers traditional on campus, blended opportunities and totally online options,” says Mervold.  Students can participate in the program or even just in selected courses online if they choose. They can participate in classroom activities using online communications tools, while group work and presentations are available for all students whether they are in class or online. Now, our students can be successful in reaching their career goals without having to walk onto campus.”

By seeking to enhance educational delivery models, Sask Polytech can position itself as a student-first institution that is responsive to industry need.  

“It provides students with access to interactive content as often and for as long as they need to so they can master the materials. Faculty can monitor progress and offer assistance when they notice the learner is having difficulty in a subject area,” says Mervold. “This technology also allows us to develop new programs or enhance current programming options that provides professional development in the workforce.”

Currently, online learning options available at Sask Polytech are helping employees in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia stay up-to-date with their skills development without ever having to take a leave of absence from their jobs.

“They get to stay in the job, with their families, and in their communities and never have to uproot themselves,” says Mervold.

If you would like to learn more about online learning options at Sask Polytech, please visit the Parts Management Technician website.

Published December 2017.