Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ontario Supporting Learners and Jobseekers Wherever They Are

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The Ontario government is providing over $4.7 million to Contact North | Contact Nord, giving learners in underserved communities flexible access to innovative virtual learning and training opportunities. This investment supports 13 online learning centres equipped with Extended Reality (XR) technology, and a laptop and internet loaner program.

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“By continuing to invest in ground-breaking virtual programs and technologies that remove barriers to learning, we are giving jobseekers in every corner of the province a fair chance to acquire the skills needed to compete in the labour market,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “This funding will provide learners living in small, rural, remote, Indigenous and Francophone communities with access to virtual ‘hands-on’ training to position them for success in the workforce.”

Contact North | Contact Nord operates 78 online learning centres across the province, offering students access to computer workstations, web and video conferencing, learning management systems, as well as exam supervision. Thirteen centres were recently upgraded to offer XR technology.

These centres collaborate with education and training providers to develop virtual work-integrated learning opportunities. For example, Contact North | Contact Nord has partnered with White River Forest Products to set up a mobile simulator that provides on-site training using XR technologies for heavy equipment operators. This virtual ‘hands-on’ initiative enables participants to learn how to operate heavy equipment without any physical risk while staying in their home communities.

The government’s investment also supports a laptop and internet loaner program launched in May 2022 as part of the province’s Virtual Learning Strategy. Over 500 internet modems and 1,200 laptops, equipped with education and training software, are available through the program. The technology is free to borrow and can be accessed at any Contact North | Contact Nord learning centre or through their student information hotline.

This support builds on the government’s ongoing efforts to position Ontario as a global leader in postsecondary education, with flexible virtual learning opportunities that help all learners acquire the skills and training needed to compete in the labour market.

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