Leadership through applied learning with SAIT Corporate Training
Rocky View County, a municipal district in southern Alberta with a population of about 41,000, has been partnering with SAIT in the delivery of Corporate Training solutions for more than a decade.
Carolyn Jonsson has been the Learning and Organizational Development Advisor at the County for about half of that time, working to integrate SAIT courses into her training strategy.
Since 2018, almost 170 County employees have signed on for non-mandatory training programs ranging from technology and productivity, and communication and customer service, to leadership development through an Applied Management Certificate.
The courses and the training strategy support the County’s learning and development mandate: to drive continuous learning and performance improvement and to optimize employee learning experiences.
“We’ve heard the training is a real highlight,” says Jonsson. “It’s a strong engagement piece for people at the County.”
Over the years, Jonsson has seen leadership development grow into a key priority for the organization.
“The focus of my training strategy is currently on leadership development for new, emerging and experienced leaders,” she says. “I think we’ll see even more focus on leadership training going forward.”
The Applied Management Certificate has good attendance across the organization — from emerging leaders looking to advance their position to employees working through their Blue Seal certification. Fifty-five leaders have completed at least one course towards the certificate in the past five years.
While training needs have continued to evolve with business requirements, Jonsson has noted a big change in perspective when it comes to how people spend their training time in recent years.
“There’s a really strong focus on applied learning — on seeing a clear line of sight between the training and how the knowledge, tools and skills acquired apply to the workplace and the department.”
Research from the County also shows that employment engagement increases when managers support professional development in the context of how it applies to an employee’s work.
From targeting a course to a specific outcome to offering a choice of delivery method, customized training options through SAIT Corporate Training add even more value to the learner experience.
“I like the fact there’s a willingness to adapt to our needs,” says Jonsson. “People are very busy. When someone takes the time to go to a course, it needs to have value and they need to be able to see that up front.”
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