When we think of schools, we think of children’s education but they are a key provider of adult education. To get the picture just try getting a parking spot on a weeknight at an adult education centre. Seasoned adult learners know the early bird gets the spot.
School Board Continuing Education courses are the most affordable adult education. For the 99% who are struggling to stay afloat and feel they can’t afford to upgrade their education to get a better job have a look at the school boards. By taking a school board course you can start yourself on a path to college, university and a better job.
Most school boards have several adult education centres that offer all or some of the following: English classes (ESL or LINC or ELT) for those who have English as a second and in today’s world possibly a third or fourth language; a place to earn a high school diploma at an adult day school or in an evening course; pick up practical skills for a job not only in computers but for jobs like personal support work, hairstyling, carpentry and others, and in co-op programs to gain work experience, LBS Literacy Basic Skills programs now called Essential Skills where you can get basic upgrading help with computers, math and English- for first language speakers; general interest courses which cover a broad range of language learning (French, Spanish, Mandarin etc), arts, crafts, music, computers, dance, cooking, etc. and some school boards sponsor; Employment Ontario Centres, to find work or access retraining through Second Career funding as well as Newcomer Information Centres. Some boards offer online credit courses.
Each GTA and Toronto school Board is organized slightly differently but they offer similar programs for free or at a low cost. You need to shop around in case you miss a program that is unique to that one board and perfect for you. When asking around it is better to tell people your goals than to ask for a specific course as they may know of a course that would help you but you hadn’t thought existed. For instance, if you say “I’m an engineer from back home, I want to upgrade my English and get a related job.” you would be referred to an Enhanced Language Training to upgrade your technical language and these ELT (enhanced language training) programs have a co-op work placement in a your field. Whereas if you say “I want an advanced ESL class” you would be referred to a ESL 7/8 class.
The adult day school programs where you earn high school credits offer academic and career counseling, they even help you fill out college and university application forms.
Public and Catholic School Boards
There are two school systems in the province– one public and the other Catholic. Both offer courses to adults. The following is a guide to finding adult programs in each.
LEARNING IN THE PUBLIC BOARDS
Peel District School Board
Click on Quick Links for Adult ESL, LINC, Credit and LBS.
There are three main campuses offering a wide variety of adult learning opportunities including ESL, LINC, Secondary School Credit and LBS.
York Region District School Board
Click on Community then Continuing Education.
Durham District School Board
Click on Program then Continuing Education There are three main centres where high school credits, english as a second language Literacy Basic Skills and computer training are offered. DDSB offers Pathway Programs such as Personal Support Worker, Building Maintenance, Hospitality and Office Administration
Halton District School Board
Learning Curves delivers to Oakville which is just west of Mississauga and served by the Halton District School Board.
Toronto District School Board.
This school board has remained the largest provider of adult education in the province for over 160 years. The home page banner leads you straight to their offerings by clicking on adult learners.
There are many centres in the following program areas: Adult Credit programs; night school and adult day school; general Interest programs under Learn4Life. Then there are employment services through their Next Steps Centres. Learn English classes and Settlement services are well dispersed throughout the city.
Adult Day Schools
Here you can earn credits towards a high school diploma. There are five centres. Each have similar programs and some have programs unique to that Centre. Be sure to check them all out before deciding.
Continuing Education (General Interest Courses)
There are over 37 centres and fortunately the Winter program calendar lists courses offered by site starting on page 36. You can scan the calendar online and often they are available at the larger centres and at public libraries
In Learn4Life courses, you can take a hobby; stay fit, learn a language (French, Mandarin, Spanish, etc.); or gain new skills, many of which are work-related skills such as computers or accounting or customer service.
There are three program areas, ESL 85 sites, LINC Centres 14 of these and Enhanced Language Training, ELT four centres here.
English as a Second Language
Of the 85 sites where courses are offered, six of these offer intake support. www.elstoronto.ca
Enhanced Language Training
www.elt4employment.ca Call 416-395-8270 There are four centres which offer enhanced language training (business English skills) in Engineering, Customer Service and Administration, Accounting, Information Technology, Sales and Marketing, Hospitality, and Financial Services. These ELT programs offer 8 weeks in class and a 6 week work (unpaid) work placement to gain practice
Employability Skills This progam used to be called Literacy Basic Skills. This program is for English speakers who need to upgrade their skills in English, Computers and Math for further education or employment. There are 26 sites where these programs are offered and three intake centres.
Learning in the Catholic Boards
Durham Catholic District School Board
www.con-ed.ca There are four main centres for ESL, High School Credit, PSW, LBS
DCDSB offers of General Interest courses. in Languages (Spanish, French, Sign) Fitness, Cooking and Business Call 905-683-7713 DCDSB offers a Personal
Support Worker Program Call 905-438-0570 Oshawa or 905-683-7713 Ajax
York Catholic District School Board www.ycdsb.ca Call 416-221-5051 Click on Departments then Adult Program YCDSB offers and extensive ESL program Computer and General Interest classes.
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board www.dpcdsb.org/cec There are two main centres for ESL, High School credits, and a Personal Support Worker program
DPCDSB offers a broad range of General Interest courses at several different sites Call 905-891-9283
Halton Catholic District School Board www.hcdsb.org Click on Programs then Continuing Education/Adult Education. Learning Curves delivers to Oakville which is just west of Mississauga and served by the Halton Catholic District School Board
Thomas A. Merton Adult Learning Centre . 171 Speers Road, Oakville Call 905-7555 Ext 223 This Centre offers ESL and high school credits.
Toronto Catholic District School Board www.tcdsb.org Call 416-397-6600 This Board offers a full range of language programs, English as Second Language. Language Instruction for Newcomers, Enhanced Language
Training. For those who speak English, upgrading in English, Math and Computers through Literacy Basic Skills or now referred to as Essential Skills. On their website under programs and services,
choose Adult Education. They have 31 locations.