Two years ago, Randstad Canada surveyed employees in 33 countries, and the results indicated one in three Canadians believe their jobs could vanish in a few years due to the rise of technology.
“The jobs of tomorrow are on the drawing boards of today – being aware that innovation is occurring and making the effort to understand and grow with those innovations will help you grow and maintain your career.” ~ Tom Turpin, President, Randstad Canada
A more recent article, The New Job Market and the Robot Revolution, discusses robots and artificial intelligence and the impact they will have on the future of work. It talks about the displacement of millions of factory workers in China because of these robots, and how China is planning to move these workers into knowledge jobs such as banking, insurance, media, and service firms.
All of this sounds scary. What will the workplace and workforce look like in a few years?
No one can make a precise prediction, but one thing is certain. We are living in the knowledge economy age, and lifelong learning is critical to career success. If job seekers want to become more competitive; if they don’t want to become obsolete, they will need to take advantage of new learning opportunities wherever they can be found.
Fortunately, the world is becoming one great University where one does not need to be physically in a classroom to get a good education.
Learning opportunities abound where job seekers and career changers can gain real-world skills, oftentimes for free, and within the confines of home. Courses are offered in many disciplines, including technology, language, and some essential workplace skills.
Below is a list of universities and other learning institutions offering free online courses. Some offer certificates and some do not. Others will offer certificates if the student upgrades and pay a fee.
Canadian Virtual University (CVU) is an association of Canada’s leading universities specializing in online and distance education. Although the site is Canadian, it also lists courses from universities outside of Canada.
Coursera, an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.
Khan Academy is a not-for-profit to change education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.
My Slide Rule offers MBA-level courses without having to attend MBA schools. While this does not mean participants will be able to add the MBA designation behind their names, they can learn the fundamentals of business (or improve their business skills), by engaging in some online learning.
Open Culture, brings together high-quality cultural and educational media from Top Universities for the worldwide lifelong learning community, and it’s all free.
The University of Toronto. Offers free courses accessed via Coursera, which was mentioned above.
Yale University provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The project aims to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.
There are many more institutions that offer free online courses in various disciplines. The above list is just the tip of the iceberg.
Readers are encouraged to conduct their due diligence on these institutions to make sure they meet their needs. It might just be worth it to enroll in one or several of these courses and boost your marketability.