Right now, while we are unexpectedly stuck at home, job seekers are starting to wonder what to tell future employers about what they have been doing over this time. I have tried to reassure my clients that it’s unlikely that employers will ask — most people understand that in these “unprecedented times” (as the press keeps telling us) people are dealing with a many unexpected pressures. But now that many of us have found some kind of daily routine, as stressful and unsettled as it may be, some are looking for something to do that is positive and future-oriented which might advance their careers or give them a competitive edge when they resume their job search.
Considering what so many people are going through as they try to balance the role of parent, teacher, homekeeper, cook, shopper, and caregiver — job search is understandably hardly a priority for some. Of course, self care and day to day survival should to be our first priority, and the added pressure of taking on additional responsibilities might not be the right thing to do right now.
However, the option to take courses online is available for those who feel the need (and have the opportunity) to do something for their resume. Taking a course can also be a useful distraction, a way to gain a sense of control and do something for yourself.
Finding online training courses that are credible and accessible isn’t an easy task. While Googling “online courses in Toronto” will give you pages and pages of results, it can be difficult to determine which of these courses are worth your time (and money).
Here is a selection of quality resources to learn new skills and boost your employability.
Libraries also offer access to a wide range of online courses for free, such as
- Lynda — access to thousands of video tutorial courses in technology, software development, business skills, project management as well as creative skills like animation and video editing
- Transparent Language — learn a new language
- Practice for the Ontario G1 driving test — with practice tests and a G1 test simulator based on the MTO Driver’s Handbook and the same method of grading and questions on the real test
- TV Ontario Education — links to the Independent Learning Center, Homework Help, and resources for adults looking to complete their GED
- Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) — a non-profit organization that facilitates equitable learning beyond institutional walls
- Other free educational platforms such as the Khan Academy
Find the Public libraries websites in your city for more information. You will need a library card to access these programs (If you do not have a library card, check the website of your local public library – some have temporarily introduced online registration options to access some resources. Libraries in the GTA include:
- Toronto Public Library
- Brampton Public Library
- Markham Public Library
- Vaughan Public Library
- Mississauga Public Library
Universities and Colleges:
Publicly funded post-secondary schools also offer a wide range of Continuing Education opportunities both in-person and online; many of which are quite affordable. In addition, through Continuing Education departments at colleges and universities, job seekers can earn certificates in their area of study that will demonstrate their expertise when applying to jobs. Online courses are available at Ontario Learn.
In recent months, universities have begun to advertise more online courses for people who don’t necessarily want to do an entire degree, under the category of Continuing Education, such as University of Toronto, Ryerson and York University
Many private colleges offer a wide range of training opportunities, an increasing number of which are available online. The provincial government registers and oversees all these schools to ensure quality, though they do vary widely in their standards.
Candidates should keep in mind that many of these schools might not necessarily approved by the certifying professional bodies (e.g. Pharmacy Assistant candidates have to refer to this list to ensure the course is approved by the CCAPP, the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy programs), so it is important to check first before registering to make sure that the course and school are approved.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of opportunities to study online which allows for greater flexibility and often lower (or no) costs. Some excellent online training sources include:
Also — remember that non profit organizations such as JVS Toronto are offering a range of free expert webinars for job seekers, so check those out as well.