Competency-Based Education and Training Programs
Niagara College’s competency-based education and training (CBET) approach to vocational education emphasizes what a person can do in the workplace as a result of completing a program of training. CBET programs are especially suitable for short-term training programs. The concepts and processes involved in developing a CBET program are easily acquired by trainers who have had sufficient exposure and practice in train-the-trainer sessions. Like Results-Based Management, CBET focuses on producing a set of pre-determined outcomes or results identified through assessment of needs carried out by trainers with people who work in the targeted sector.
Students and trainers of our CBET programs know what the expected learning outcomes are before the course begins; the goal of each program is to help each student develop the necessary skills to demonstrate competence in the real world. Because realistic contexts and proficiencies expected by employers are integrated into the learning environment, CBET-trained individuals can perform in a way that businesses expect them to and educator-trainers produce more employment-ready employees.
Gender Mainstreaming is a strategy for promoting gender equality. It involves ensuring that gender perspectives and the goal of equality are central components of all project activities including policy development, research, dialogue, legislation, resource allocation and the planning, implementation and monitoring of programs and projects.
Mainstreaming is not about adding a “woman’s component” or even a “gender equality component” into an existing project. Beyond increasing women’s participation, it means allowing the experience, knowledge and interests of women and men to influence the development agenda.
To begin the gender analysis process, download Niagara College’s Gender Toolkit (Note: this toolkit is a work in progress).
Results-Based Management and Outcome Mapping
Results-Based Management (RBM) is a comprehensive, life-cycle approach to management that integrates strategy, people, processes, and measurements to improve decision-making and to drive change.
The approach focuses on getting the right design early in a process, implementing performance measurement, learning and changing, and reporting on performance. Niagara College monitors a project’s result using Outcome Mapping (OM), which focuses on one specific type of result: outcomes as behavioural change. Outcomes are defined as changes in the behaviour, relationships, activities, or actions of the people, groups, and organizations with whom a program works directly.The main purpose of outcome mapping is not external accountability or reporting, but learning. In this spirit, Outcome Mapping emphasizes that every program has to be prepared to change throughout its implementation; it needs to get better and better at doing its job in order to respond to its boundary partners’ changing needs.
Access for Non-Traditional Learners
The IEDD is passionate about providing access programs – life skills programs for non-traditional learners – as well as short term practical vocational training programs to people with limited opportunities to formal education in the developing world. Introducing PLAR (Prior Learning and Recognition) to the educational institutions in these countries is part of the process. By recognizing and giving credit for previous work or life experience, institutions begin to break down the barriers in the learning process. Our international access projects support Niagara College’s increasing focus on recruiting and meeting the needs of non-traditional learners (including mature, part-time and combining work with study students).
Mentoring for Students and Young Professionals Going Overseas
Niagara College offers intensive pre-departure training for all students and young professional going overseas for study or work abroad experiences. The competency-based, non-credit certificate course (Young Professionals Going Global) equips interns with the attitudes, skills and knowledge necessary for personal and professional success overseas. The training program is divided into four distinct parts:
- Language Training
- Specialized International Development Training
- Logistical support
Vocational Training in Tourism and Hospitality
The IEDD appreciates the potential of responsible and sustainable tourism projects and programs for a local community’s economic development. By providing short-term practical vocational training programs for people who have had limited opportunities for formal education, specifically in the area of hospitality and tourism, Niagara College has contributed to the development of sustainable tourism in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil and Europe.
The goal of all our international projects is to enable our students, partners and communities to successfully meet the economic, social and cultural challenges of a global society. NC acts as a major partner in economic development for the Niagara Region and has become known for its distinctive focus on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial approaches within international projects. Our international projects encourage partners to be resourceful in the pursuit of financial self-sufficiency.
Community Economic Development
NC has a wealth of community economic development experience. In a collaboration with ITEC Iguazú (Technological Institute of Iguazú, Argentina), NC developed both mainstream and indigenous tourism curriculum through the MATE project. This project aimed to benefit at-risk groups (women and youth) who, without training, had little possibility of gaining employment in the tourism industry.
The MATE project included a variety of privately-owned tourism companies on its Advisory Committee in order to inspire corporate social and environmental responsibility towards communities in the Iguazú region. One of the most rewarding results of this project was the creation of indigenous curriculum designed and delivered by and for indigenous elders in support of youth-employment in tourism.
NC applies a strategic and sustained approach to environmental sensitivity to all of our development projects. We use environmental best practices to develop and implement activities with full concern for environmental protection. Environmental education and protection are key components to all of our eco-tourism curriculum development and training projects.
These projects inherently provide environmental benefits by communicating the importance of Millenium Development Goal # 7 – that of ensuring environmental sustainability and sound waste management as it relates to health, well-being and private sector development. Consistent with best environmental practices of NC, many of our project activities are electronic. For meetings and workshops, “green-friendly” practices are implemented.