Free workplace communication courses help Canadian newcomers
September 16, 2020

Help is here for new Canadian residents who need to develop their language and communication skills to succeed in the job market, through specialized training offered by Georgian College. 

Occupation-specific Language Training (OSLT) is a free program that teaches language and communication skills specific to certain sectors and occupations. All courses are funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. This fall, Georgian is starting OSLT courses for two streams: professional managers in business and technology, and health-care workers. 

“OSLT is for individuals who are internationally trained or have previous work experience in their field in other countries and are experiencing communication barriers while trying to find and keep work in Canada,” says Patricia Whittington, Director, Indigenous Services and Access Programs, Georgian. 

Pat says past program participants have reported increased confidence in spoken English and knowledge of workplace culture, which has helped them in interviews and networking situations as well as in performing better on the job.

After successfully completing Georgian’s Workplace Communication for Professional Managers course last year, Julia Rokhina gained the tools needed to succeed in her journey. “Through the OSLT course, I learned more than just knowledge,” says Julia. “I attained a sense of community, a sense of belonging.” 

Julia was an accomplished communications professional with two degrees before coming to Ontario with her husband and children. A well-travelled communications professional, Julia understood that she would need to enhance her strong communication skills to acquire a position that matched the vast experience she had gained in her home country. The free courses through OSLT provided the help she needed to achieve her goals. “Within six months I broadened my vocabulary and improved pronunciation,” she says.

The Professional Managers course not only provided her with language skills but also gave Julia a chance to build her professional network. “In class I met professionals from all around the world, who were also navigating their new life in Ontario,” she says. “Some already had their careers on track and wanted to upgrade their communication skills, others were still looking for a job that would fit their experience, and there were even several entrepreneurs among us who were already creating or planning to create new jobs here in Ontario. It was both a pleasure and an honour for me as a newcomer to participate in classes with such a brilliant and diverse audience.”

A head shot of a female with pink hair and glasses

OSLT gave Julia a strong foundation for her next steps. “Since March, I’ve started two bridging programs with Ryerson University, which I should finish by October,” she says. “I got my first Canadian job last month. I’m sure the start that OSLT for Professional Managers at Georgian gives would provide a lot of opportunities for many more professionals who chose Ontario as their new home.”

“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting newcomers so that they can enter the workforce and contribute to the economy and to their community, while supporting their families,” says The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “We are a proud supporter of Colleges Ontario as they have been instrumental in helping newcomers at colleges throughout Ontario develop the competencies they need to navigate the workplace.”

Georgian will be offering Workplace Communications Skills for Professional Managers (focused on business and technology) from October to March, and a variety of courses for health-care professionals starting in September. All courses are offered remotely and are open to permanent residents and protected persons whose English skills are at an intermediate level (Canadian Language Benchmark 6 to 8.) There’s no charge for students to participate in these courses.

For more information or to register, please call 705.728.1968, ext. 5329 or send us an email.