In today’s job market there seems to be much more emphasis on skills and your ability to demonstrate them than on conventional old-fashioned educational qualifications. Although a university degree may be mentioned in the qualifications part of a job posting there will also typically be a long list of skills that you need to not only have training in but also be able to perform. I’ve divided this page into soft and hard skills. Soft are those that I consider difficult to quantify or measure – things like workplace diversity training. Hard are those with tests, measurements of accomplishment and acknowledged/recognized levels – things like keyboarding, medical terminology, software mastery and first aid.
Obviously it can be hard to distinguish post-secondary education from skills upgrading so I set an arbitrary cut off of longer than 6 months. If a course takes longer than 6 months to complete – even if it’s only one hour a week – I haven’t included it.
For subjects as diverse as dealing with difficult people to humour and its relationship to wellness in the workplace the Business Skills Development section of Continuing Studies at Royal Roads is a good place to start. However, these courses don’t come cheap – look at spending at least $200 for a one-day course. Similarly Camosun has courses like ‘Fearless Leadership’ and ‘Increasing Human Effectiveness’ in its Business and Leadership section of Continuing Studies. Finally, UVic offers courses like Business Ethics and Organizational Behaviour in its Business and Management section of Continuing Studies.
The Victoria Small Business centre offers a variety of workshops on subjects ranging from intellectual property law to the ‘new’ time management – these aren’t necessarily skills as such but if you are already in a specific job or targeting a very narrow field of positions you may find something here that is helpful. 3e Training offers various courses, such as Effective Writing and Delegating Successfully to both individual clients and organizations. There’s also an outfit called ctc Train Canada that offers a plethora of courses, mostly concentrated in the IT field and pretty pricy – $200-300 for a single day and anywhere from $500-$1,000+ for a two-day course.
- medical terminology – Camosun College offers online and classroom based, around $425; as of July 2013 the West Shore Continuing Education is offering medical terminology as part of a Medical Office Assistant program (or at least they offered courses in late 2012 – check with them by phone or email)
- keyboarding – Camosun College, around $250; West Shore Continuing Education, around $225; also lots of resources to practice online so simply Google that – note that it is pretty difficult to achieve speeds required by employers like VIHA and the University of Victoria if you only type with two fingers so keep that in mind – it may be worth taking a proper course
- software packages – Adobe and Microsoft courses online at West Shore Centre – prices start at $170; AutoCAD, Adobe, Microsoft, Simply Accounting and much more delivered in the classroom at Camosun College – prices vary depending on length of course
- Food Safe and Serving It Right – at Camosun College – $75 and $115 respectively; Hospitality Training Plusseems to offer Food Safe for $5 less and will arrange an onsite ‘Serving It Right’ course if there is enough interest
- drivers’ training – CSTT Driver Training – various courses and prices; truck, bus and RV courses from Saferway, again, various courses and prices
- first aid – CPR, first-on-the-scene, AED (Automated External Defibrillation) courses and much more at St. John Ambulance
- lifeguard training – a variety of courses in Aquatic Emergency Care offered by the The Lifesaving Society
If there are other hard or soft skills you’d like me to add to these lists contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.