DC’s School of Continuing Education helps local business growth

Woman sitting with Durham College School of Continuing Education booklet.
Photo by Meagan Secord

Julie Woodward of the School of Continuing Education

The School of Continuing Education at Durham College provides employers and employees with the opportunity to upgrade their skills, while helping improve local companies.

Sharon Murphy, a registered practical nurse at Lakeridge Health Oshawa, is taking the Advanced Foot Care program through the School of Continuing Education.

The program is six days total and runs over a two-week span every Wednesday through Friday. The program, including supplies, costs just under $1,500.

Murphy says there is no one in her workplace who is registered to take care of elderly people and the problems they have with their feet, which is why she decided to take the program. She will learn about the problems elderly people face with their feet, such as ulcers. The program will also teach her about how to care for the feet and nails of diabetic patients.

She was excited when she found out the School for Continuing Education offered the program. She says this new skill will give her an edge in her nursing career.

Murphy said the program will give her the skills “so I can take care of my mom’s feet because she’s diabetic.”

Debbie Johnston, dean of the School of Continuing Education, says the school offers “a little bit of everything” in terms of programs and courses.

She says the diverse options for courses and programs makes it possible for potential students to find what they need to add to their skill set.

Johnston says Durham College is trying to help employees.

“Employees need to continually grow their skills, they always need to be improving and developing their abilities,” she says. “Those abilities are what helps the company move forward.”

Some companies send employees to Durham College to upgrade their skills to grow as a company. However, employees can choose to go back on their own like Murphy, who says she’s not sure whether she will be reimbursed.

The School of Continuing Education offers 80 programs and more than a thousand courses which give people with full-time jobs or those who don’t want to be in a regular classroom an opportunity to upgrade skills and take courses.

Johnston says the courses and programs offered still have set start and end dates but students don’t always have scheduled classroom times. The school has more than 10,000 registrations per year and is offered online or at night for convenience.

She says the focus for the school isn’t just on professional development but offering a secondary option for students.

Students need to focus on being “life-long learners,” she said. Education doesn’t stop after receiving a degree or a diploma and that’s where Continuing Education comes in.

For students such as Murphy and other employees and companies in the community, the School for Continuing Education is a different way to grow as learners without giving up a main income or staff.