How a SAIT certificate makes big leadership growth possible

Kody Naka smiles at the camera in front of an indistinguishable background.

For Kody Naka, being a leader doesn’t mean reaching a rung on the corporate ladder. He sees leadership as a lifestyle — a skillset to bring to the table, offering new ways of processing information and connecting with others.

A graduate of SAIT’s Petroleum Engineering Technology Diploma, Naka now works as a Production Technologist at Birchcliff Energy. He’s continued to develop his technical and 21st-century skills through on- and off-the-job training. His goal is to apply his learnings to better understand his peers’ worlds and work styles, even when their specialties differ.

With that passion for learning, it was perhaps inevitable Naka would find himself back on SAIT’s campus.

When his professional mentor at Birchcliff Energy, Dave Humphreys (who was also involved as an industry consultant for this certificate), invited him to sit in on a class webinar from our Engineering Technology Management Certificate of Achievement, Naka immediately saw a chance to apply new skills in his work with other industry experts. He dove right in. “I went up to his office after and asked, ‘where do I sign up?’”

Development for engineering professionals

SAIT’s Engineering Technology Management Certificate of Achievement was developed in partnership with the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

Through practical and applied learning, participants improve and develop leadership essentials that can be applied to their engineering technology professions. They develop competencies in leadership, communication, supervision, team building, trust and empowerment, collaboration and project management — and more, depending on the electives they choose.

“Don’t be intimidated by the management terminology,” Naka insists. “It’s not just for managers or people who are trying to become one.

“Leadership and management skills can be applied no matter what role you’re in, and, the sooner you learn and apply these things, the more prepared you’ll be when the right opportunity presents itself.”

The certificate also sets participants up to acquire further credentials. Numerous courses are recognized by leading professional associations and can earn participants credit towards certifications such as Blue Seal, Gold Seal, and Project Management Institute certifications.

Did you know?

Many of the electives in this program can also earn you a SAIT micro-credential — a digital badge for your resume to easily verify your skills and help you stand out, provided you complete the course with a grade of A- or higher.

Training, tailor-made

With five core courses — Communicating Effectively, Leaders as Coaches, Supervisory Skills, Team Building and Emotional Intelligence — students can tailor their certificate by choosing electives that are most relevant to them, as long as they complete a minimum of 150 hours of coursework.

To choose his courses, Naka selected areas of personal and professional interest, and then showed the list to his manager. Employer involvement isn’t required for the course, but Naka wanted to settle on a ‘game plan’ with his manager that would support him in his current role and his career growth.

“It took me 14 months to finish the certificate. Once you get the ball rolling, you look forward to going to class, whether it’s online or in person.”

Leader of the pack

Naka is the first student to complete the certificate, but he won’t be the last. Members of ASET can even register any time for a discounted rate.

Thinking about it? Naka shared three things for participants to succeed.

  1. Get uncomfortable — it’s how we grow. “Participate. When you do, you get more out of it. Looking back, even the shyest people were asking questions and having fun. That’s another beautiful thing: in small classes, you’ll meet people from other industries, so you step out of the area you’re usually siloed in and laser-focused on.”
  2. Learn how to lead — and be led. “By taking this certificate, and its leadership courses, you not only learn how to lead, but how to be led. They show you a new way of thinking about what your leader expects of you.”
  3. Don’t be afraid to get emotional(ly intelligent). “Going into the Emotional Intelligence course, I didn’t know what to expect, but wow! Everyone should take this course, no matter your age or job. These skills are so important to becoming a more complete individual and interacting with people.”

For his part, Naka has gone on to complete his Certified Associate in Project Management Certification, since the SAIT Project Management course he completed provided him with the experience and knowledge he needed for the designation.

He continues to develop his skills through extracurriculars. Naka’s looking forward to applying his learnings from Mentoring to his future mentees. After taking Presentation Skills at SAIT, he keeps up his practice at weekly Toastmasters meetings, and he’s planning to run for the ASET Council in the near future, meaning his peers may see his new skills in action during future annual general meetings.

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a view of the moutains and stream in between

Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.