You are hereHome ›
Options for short-term training
There is a multitude of programs in Toronto where you can get trained in under a year. Some programs are specifically for people receiving income support benefits from Ontario Works (OW), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Employment Insurance (EI), some are designed for specific groups such as women or youth, while others are designed for everyone and anyone. Programs for OW clients — as well as many others offered by community nonprofit agencies — are usually free but some of the courses listed here have costs. (If you are receiving OW, speak to your caseworker about taking one of the skill training courses offered through Toronto Employment and Social Services. If you can't find the course you want, you can ask for individual training — TESS sometimes pays for programs such as truck driving or customer service — but be aware that funding is limited for this option.)
Attention: Although these courses do take place at varying times in the year some of them are starting up soon — so register now before it’s too late (or at least get inspired for the future)!
Have you got a killer business idea? The Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) Program delivers intensive business skills development training to persons who are currently collecting Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or have done so in the last three to five years. Participants who complete a comprehensive business plan are given ongoing business advisor counselling services and income support for up to 42 weeks.
Centennial College’s Centre of Entrepreneurship also offers the OSEB program including an independent television production program, starting up in October, geared towards those who have a production background and want to start a television company.
If you’re a young entrepreneur (aged 16 to 29) with a history of mental health or addiction challenges, consider the Youth Small Business Program, which can help you launch your own business venture and secure financing. A collaboration between Dixon Hall Employment Services Centre, CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and the Rotman School of Management, the program is launching this fall and info sessions are being held in August.
Horticultural technician programs
Here’s another opportunity for youth, particularly outdoorsy types: a free arborist training program complete with a paid 12-week work placement offered jointly by The Career Foundation and Humber College. (Contact any of the five locations of The Career Foundation to register for this program.) As well, Microskills and Humber College deliver a similar program for women, the free 10-month Horticultural Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Program that includes a paid work placement in the landscape industry. Start date is Sept. 4.
MicroSkills also provides IT training for women at all levels of education and skill, from those with little or no experience with computers to internationally trained IT professionals needing the latest industry-recognized certifications for jobs in the local labour market. There are four different programs, all of which include a work placement and help with job search:
- Network administration (44 weeks)
- Application development (42 weeks)
- Business analysis (38 weeks)
- Web development (42 weeks)
If you’ve got a way with words and are fluent in at least one other language besides English, consider training to become an interpreter. MCIS Language Services both trains and hires freelance interpreters — and there are opportunities for work once you are trained. Although the training costs $990 and the language test costs $195, funding may be available for OW, ODSP or EI recipients. The next training sessions take place on week nights, from Sept. 4 to Oct. 26 and on weekends, from Sept. 15 to Nov. 4. (To get a sense whether interpreting would be a good fit for you enrol in the free basic training offered on the e-learning section of the MCIS site and attend an information session that is put on every two weeks on Mondays at 5:45 p.m.)
Health care programs
Health care is a booming field and although many jobs in this area require years of schooling, that's not the case for personal support workers (PSWs). If you want to help people who are elderly or have disabilities with basic physical needs you can find 27-week PSW training through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Both City Adult Learning Centre and Yorkdale Adult Learning Centre offer courses. (The latter runs about $800 in total costs for things like medical tests and a uniform while the former has a $40 registration fee.)
Also in the healthcare area, TDSB offers OW clients the chance to take a free Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate Program, which includes 17 weeks of in-class training, a four-week unpaid work placement and 24 weeks of employment support. Please note that this course will not be offered in the winter but may be offered in the summer of 2013.
Early childhood assistant programs
For those who like to work with children, an early childhood assistant (ECA) program is a logical choice. Emery Adult Learning Centre has a five-month Child Care Assistance Co-op where you gain practical experience in a daycare and earn six high school credits. The registration fee is $120 and upon completion of the program $100 is refundable.
Yorkdale offers an even shorter program. Its 18-week Child Care Assistant Certificate Program, allows students to earn six credits towards their high school diploma and, includes a nine-week placement. The costs associated with the program fro things like books and medical shots, test and forms is $620 (with a $100 refundable book fee). Attention: registration for the September 2013 school year begins Aug. 27.
At 14 weeks, the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF) has the shortest program of all. You can learn about the importance of play in *LEF's ECA program, which, like the others, has a placement component. In addition, for $156 TDSB’s continuing ed department offers a child care assistant course.
Hair styling programs
If you like making people look pretty, check out adult education programs in hairstyling. For $865 in total costs, Yorkdale offers a 10-month Pre-Apprenticeship Hairstyling Program that lets students earn 12 credits towards their secondary school diploma and provides a co-op placement in a hair salon. If this interests you, don’t delay too long as registration begins Aug. 27.
Emery Adult Learning Centre provides a 10-month Hairstyling Certificate Coop to students over 21 with a high school diploma that runs twice a year, in September and February. Students must buy their own supplies and books for this course which will run about $400. Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies (SCAS) offers a free two-term Hairstyling Licensing Program where students are placed in a salon for three days a week in their second term — after completion, they are qualified to continue a full-time apprenticeship in a salon. The next program is in September.
For those with a flair for fashion, Heritage Skills Development Centre provides an eight-week dress making and fashion design course for $150.
Customer service/retail training
If you're one of those people who has the gift of staying calm in the face of anger and distress, consider working at a call centre — you'll have lots of opportunity to exercise this talent. If you’re on Ontario Works you could get free training including a placement through MicroSkill’s Computer and Customer Service Skills Program. JVS also offers social assistance recipients a 10-week Virtual & Interactive Customer Service Call Centre Training that includes a three-week work experience. As well, University Settlement House offers a two-week Customer Service & Call Centre Representative Certificate Program for social assistance recipients. For $55, Skills for Change delivers this ESL Customer Service Program, which helps participants improve their English and communication skills while developing an awareness of customer service principles. Job House runs the Connections training course: 12 weeks of in-class computer, customer service and business English training coupled with a six-week co-op work placement in the financial, hospitality, retail and travel industries. The course is geared to newcomers to Canada who are receiving OW assistance.
St. Christopher House also offers a number of customer service-related workshops such as its $25 Smart Serve course. AYCE is another organization that delivers this training, which allows you to work in an environment that serves alcohol.
As for the retail end of things, TDSB's continuing education department offers a cashier training course for $156 that covers cash register procedures, taxable items, multiple prices and customer service. AYCE also provides a free three-hour cash register training workshop.
There’s an abundance of places besides Youtube where you can learn all there is to know about MS Office programs. For $100, the Heritage Skills Development Centre has free basic and advanced computer skills training. YWCA Toronto offers women a range of free and low-cost computer training classes, workshops and online tutorials for beginners to advanced learners. So does Times Change Women's Employment Services. Additionally, TechSkills, which operates out of the Skills for Change agency, offers a number of courses (scroll down), which run from $70 (Power Point) to $550 (MS Office Suite). TechSkills also delivers a range of finance/accounting offerings that includes QuickBooks, AACCPAC, and more. The business and finance section of the TDSB's continuing ed department also offers relatively inexpensive accounting, administrative assistant, bank teller courses, and more.
If the idea of working in an office leaves you cold, one option is working in a warehouse. If you decide to go this route, check out *LEF's seven-week Industrial Skills Course, which offers practical forklift experience as well as propane storage and handling, first aid and emergency CPR. In addition, MicroSkills provides OW clients with a free Materials Handling and Warehousing Program that prepares them to work in storage, manufacturing and processing environments as well as warehouses.
Those who like to work with their hands can check out construction and maintenance programs. One option is SCAS's 18-week free Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry Program where you receive in-school shop training and also participate in carpentry projects for TDSB schools. As well, George Brown offers free Construction Craft Worker Extended Training to people with an addiction or mental health history. The program, which trains students for jobs such as labourer, carpentry helper, masonry helper or demolition worker, includes classroom and construction lab instruction, work placements and workshops.
Those on ODSP, EI or OW who would like a job as a repair person, superintendent, maintenance worker or carpenter's helper can contact the Ability Learning Network and ask about its free 16-week Maintenance and Repair Program.
The World of wheels
Bike mechanic program
The eight-week BAM - Bicycle Assembly & Maintenance Program, offered by *LEF, is a one-of-a-kind course. Certified by the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, the program provides mechanical theory as well as opportunities to rebuild and assemble new and used bicycles, which are then made available for sale. A one-week placement working in a bicycle shop is included.
Auto body and collision damage repair program
AYCE offers a free 30-week pre-apprenticeship training program for youth in auto body and collision damage repair. Participants receive six weeks of pre-employment training, a Level 1 Auto Body and Collision Damage Repair course offered at Centennial College, and a 12-week paid work placement.
Truck driving training
Heaps of truck drivers are expected to retire in the near future, so becoming licensed to drive a truck might be a quick ticket to a new job. Check out the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario for a list of schools that train truck drivers. You can also check out Humber College's Transportation Training Centre, which offers several courses ranging from four to 10 weeks long. MicroSkills has partnered with Humber College and the Rexdale Women's Centre to deliver a free 24-week Women in Transportation Program that equips women who have experienced violence or are at risk of violence with a Class D or A licence with a Z endorsement.
If you’re interested specifically in cooking or food service training check out our Short-Term Community Food Prep Programs article. In addition, there are many bridging programs designed for skilled newcomers to Canada that we don’t address in this article — you can find out more about them by searching bridging programs on poss.ca.
*The tuition for LEF courses varies. However, some free training spots are reserved for students who are receiving OW or EI. In other cases, LEF can provide a loan to students.