Tag Archives: education

Fixing the Financial Business

Financial Literacy – Let’s continue last month’s discussion: “Feeling Ripped Off?”

From bank tellers pushing unwanted products to financial advisors charging huge hidden fees for their “expertise” in managing your money, the financial business in Canada is broken.

Continue reading Fixing the Financial Business

Going The Distance: How the Internet has helped changed the Distance Education landscape

by Adam Johnston

The Internet has changed many industries, including music, and entertainment. Education is no different. While the idea of distance education has been around for a while, the Internet has helped changed its dynamics.

What is Techtarget.com defines distance education (or e-learning) as “a formalized teaching and learning system specifically designed to be carried out remotely by using electronic communication.” Continue reading Going The Distance: How the Internet has helped changed the Distance Education landscape

Global learning at Heartland International English School

By Derek Gagnon

There can be any number of reasons why a person might choose to learn a new language. Some do it for fun, as they look to improve themselves. Others do it in preparation for a big trip, not wanting to be unable to communicate in a faraway land. And, there are international students, studying abroad fully immersed in a foreign language to better their education and future job prospects.

For many people, English has become language of choice. It is the official language of the United Nations and there are 840 million English speakers worldwide. With Winnipeg being the multicultural hub that it is, it was just logical for an English school catering to the international market to set up in the city.

A growing demand to learn
Heartland International English School opened its doors in June of 1999, and has been growing ever since. Gary Gervais came up with the idea because his girlfriend at the time was looking to learn English, but didn’t have many viable options to learn the language fluently.

“The only option available to her wasn’t very good,” said Gervais. “So, I got the idea to start a school. I contacted my friend, Rennie Zegalski, who was also interested in starting a business and together we started the school. I got the idea in December 1998. We opened our doors and started operating in June 1999.”

The school opened with three classrooms and zero students at 508 Portage Ave. A teacher was hired, a curriculum was built and the school quickly began to grow. Gervais bought out Zegalski’s portion of the company and took sole-ownership a couple of years into the business.

By 2002, the school had outgrown its original space and moved to 161 Portage Ave. The following year, Heartland was recognized by Profit Magazine as one of the top 50 emerging growth companies in Canada. Heartland is the only accredited, private English as a second language (ESL)school in Manitoba.

By 2010, Heartland had moved again, this time to their current location in The Exchange District, the Massey Building at 294 William Ave. Demand saw them become a test centre for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in 2014. The following year, 2015, Heartland expanded yet again, opening a brand new location in Mississauga, Ontario. This January, Heartland also began offering programs in Steinbach, MB.

A diverse crowd
Heartland gets over 300 students per year, and has seen over 4,000 since opening. Students’ ages have ranged from 12 to 75. With flexible start dates and study lengths, students can start any Monday of the year and study any length of time from one week to a year or more, the program is adaptable for everyone. At any given time, there are between 50 and 80 students in the school.

Gervais says that summer is the busiest time for new students, with students staying for about three months on average.

“Last year we had students from 43 different countries,” said Gervais. “Our biggest markets, in order, are Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan. The students come with various motivations for studying English. For some, it’s a language holiday. For others, it’s learning English for their careers. For some, it could be to get into college or university. And some are hoping to immigrate to Manitoba.”

“We had a student come from Italy and studied for one week. She had done her Master’s Thesis on Margaret Lawrence and was essentially making a pilgrimage to Neepawa and tied in a week of language study. We had another student who was 75 years old and was studying English because he wanted to go on to business school to better run his two businesses in Japan.”

Learning together
“For me the best part is seeing people from different countries come together and learn about each other,” said Gervais. “We get students from all over the world and the only thing they have in common for sure is being in Winnipeg to learn English. We are used to being in a multicultural environment in Canada, but it’s not the norm most places in the world.”

“For some it may be the first time they have travelled outside their country or the first time they’ve interacted with other nationalities. They naturally bring a lot of stereotypes with them. When I see people from different countries learning about each other, becoming friends, and losing their prejudices, I think there is hope for less hatred and conflict in the world.”

For more information on Heartland International English School, visit heartlandenglish.com, email info@heartlandenglish.com or call (204) 989-8448.

Storytelling for the modern age

While many of us might like to see the young children in our lives on a regular basis, the truth is that that is just not a reality for all people. Circumstances vary across the board, with divorce, military deployment and geographical distance putting barriers between adults and the young faces they wish to see.

Kindoma is looking to change all of that.

Kindoma is a brand of apps that allow face-to-face interaction between adults and young children. While it has the video elements of programs like Skype, the added interaction of apps like StoryTime and DrawTime hold the attention of children much longer, making for a longer and more meaningful call.

Continue reading Storytelling for the modern age

Getting on track at the CN Campus

When construction of the CN Campus in Transcona wrapped up on April 7, 2014, it was exactly 100 years to the day after the completion of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway just east of Fort Fraser, B.C.

Both occasions marked historical moments in the history of Canadian railroad, with the railway linking Winnipeg to the west coast, and the completion of the campus the start of a national training program for potential CN employees.

The CN Campus opened with the goal of training the next generation of conductors, locomotive engineers, track maintainers, welders, machine operators, car mechanics as well as other positions that you might expect to associate with a rail company. The building is also being used for some existing employees who want to update their skills in their current trade, or are looking to make a shift to something else.

This facility, and another one in Homewood, Illinois, was built to centralize and standardize the training of employees.

“It was all very decentralized,” said Operations Training and Development director David Radford. “In the past it would all be in either hotel facilities or we would subcontract meeting rooms. Or else it was done in our old training centres. Some of it was done across the street (550 Pandora Ave. E.), which is a very small building that’s been around for a long time.”

No more flip-charts in hotels, no more locomotive simulators scattered all over the country. Everything is now under one roof, with the flip charts being replaced by hands on training in areas like signal, switches and manual maintenance of the tracks. Before that was all something that had to be verbally explained or shown on paper, now it’s all practical and there to be seen.

“A good example is the locomotive simulators. Those were decentralized so there was one here and one there all over Canada. So we brought them all to Winnipeg,” says David.

“So those locomotive simulators are in use from eight in the morning to midnight every day.”

Next stop, Winnipeg

Three groups of people will benefit from the opening of this campus in Winnipeg:

1. CN now has the ability to centralize and standardize training, and at a higher level than it ever has been before. This should increase productivity of employees, while ensuring a better understanding an implementation of safety standards.
2. The trainees at the campus will get taught with theory and practical application in a way that has not been seen before, exposing them to techniques and technologies in a safe learning environment.
3. Winnipeg sees 250 to 500 students per week staying at six different hotels and accounting for 600 round trip flights to the city every month. The campus has 60 full-time staff, and Manitoba sees a total capital investment from CN totaling $172 million every year.

Winnipeg is the third largest rail hub in the country, and according to David Ranford there were several characteristics that made Winnipeg the best choice for the location of the CN Campus, including the space they already owned at the Transcona Yards.

“This is close to one of our biggest terminals in Canada, we had the land available in this area that we already owned, the availability of accommodations,” said David. “When you looked at places like Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and you’re buying up three to four hundred rooms per night like we were at one point last year, we could get the rooms in Winnipeg where other cities didn’t necessarily allow for that.”