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Advanced degrees at Saskatchewan Polytechnic allow participants to add to their credentials while they continue to work in their professions.Supplied

A unique program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic is the combined brainchild of the institution and industry representatives. The Bachelor in Applied Management allows mid-career tradespeople, technologists and technicians – those with non-business diplomas, trades and journeyperson certification – to add to their credentials by earning a bachelor’s degree in two years, and it responds to the market demand for such skilled tradespeople. This degree will provide tradespeople with the skills that will allow them to build on their current roles and move into the ranks of management.

The nice thing about the program “is that these professionals can complete the program without quitting their jobs,” says Larry Rosia, president and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic. “In fact, it’s designed to accommodate that.”

The new program, which was launched last fall, is the third advanced degree at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, he explains. “It was developed in direct response to what industry has been asking for. It’s all about life-learning where people can use their experience and past credentials and leverage them to advance their education and move on in their careers.”

The program, which has attracted students with non-business diplomas as well as journeypersons, “is unique in Saskatchewan,” Dr. Rosia says. “What’s unique is that it provides opportunities for graduates to get an applied management degree, and they don’t have to have a business-related diploma. It’s developed to provide laddering for non-business diploma graduates and journeypersons, building on their technical expertise and work experience to develop administration and leadership skills for management positions.”

Many students want to move into management positions while others want to start their own businesses, and this degree gives them the skills to do either, he explains. The program includes courses in accounting, human resources, communications, change management, marketing, finance, risk-management and cross-cultural management.

“I think the real value of the program is that it combines hands-on, flexible learning that makes it easier to obtain a degree while you’re working,” Dr. Rosia says. “It’s a unique combination of educational experience.”

So far, the course is only available at one campus, but the next step is to develop an online curriculum that will make it even easier for busy tradespeople to study outside of their regular work hours.

For its part, industry is excited to see the first graduates emerge from the program. “[This is] what industry has been asking for – it’s not making [students] go back to square one,” says Dr. Rosia. “[Industry partners] are deeply tied to the program. They gave us the green light – they’re just now waiting for our first grads to get out in the field.”

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s Editorial Department was not involved in its creation.