Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BoT's affordable solution for Training and Development

One of the biggest problems facing SMEs is the need to improve productivity and employee capabilities. Yet who has money or time for formal professional development courses?

I’m excited about a plan by the Toronto Board of Trade to address this problem for small business. And I'm taking part in a special webinar on Thursday, April 1 exploring how this can help your business upgrade its competencies, virtually for free, and in less time than you’d expect.

The Board of Trade has teamed up with Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education to create a new program, Fast-Track Online Learning, geared to the needs of small business. Result: professional courses on hot management topics, revised to meet the time constraints of small business – and available free of charge, any time, to most member firms of the Board.

If there’s a catch, I haven't found it yet.

Once you have completed one of the 8 to 10-hour Web-based courses, the BoT will even make it easy to network with other people who have taken that course – allowing you to reinforce your learnings and expand your personal network at the same time.

To celebrate the launch of the first six courses in the series, I’ll be taking part in a direct-to-your-computer webinar at 11 am (EDT) on April 1. We’ll talk about why businesses need to upgrade their employees’ knowledge base (the growing complexity of business, the demands of the knowledge-based economy, increasing competition and Canada’s productivity gap are a few reasons that come to mind). We'll also discuss the real, bottom-line benefits companies can gain by helping employees succeed.

Also speaking on the webinar will be Aviva Klein of the Board of Trade and Debra Newman, vice-president of “people” for Porter Airlines.

To register for the webinar or get more information, click here.

Board officials say they have received rave reviews from early adopters who have taken the new courses. Produced by academics at Ryerson, the courses emphasize interactivity and videos – no bulky textbooks here. You can access course material from any computer, at home, at work or on the road.

And they have been trimmed to manageable length (under 10 hours) to ensure even the busiest business people can get through them. You even get a certificate at the end.

Courses being offered include Management & Leadership, E-Marketing, Managerial Accounting, Communications in Career Advancement, Project Management Fundamentals, and Project Management Planning & Scheduling.

For more information on Fast-Track courses, click here.

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