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Sheridan and Amazon partnership

26 Feb 2018

A partnership between Amazon and Sheridan College allows Amazon associates to further their skills and career interests in areas that are relevant in today’s market and also
hold high potential for the future – whether that’s at Amazon or in another industry, says Anshuman Kumar, assistant general manager at Amazon’s Toronto-area fulfillment
centre. “This results in higher employee satisfaction and, at the same time, allows us to become better and smarter as an organization.” Patrice Thompson, who works
as a process assistant at Amazon, recently participated in the organization’s Career Choice program and says it not only broadened her knowledge about operations, it has
also given her confidence for applying new-found skills at work.

“What I like most about Career Choice is how easy the program makes it for me to improve my skills and reach my personal career goals,” she says. “The classes are available onsite after work hours, the schedule is flexible and the tuition is almost entirely paid for by Amazon. All I have to do is show up and be ready to learn.”
Feedback from Ms. Thompson and others confirms that Amazon associates are keen to “stay up to speed with where the industry is going,” says Mr. Kumar. Amazon identifies priority areas for in-demand skills through sources like the National Occupational Classification, he explains. “These cutting-edge skills are not limited to technology. They are spread across diverse fields, such as accounting, IT, trades, health care, construction and logistics, where we see potential for high-paying careers from an employee perspective.”

Sheridan College’s course offerings are also informed by market research, says Marcela Velez-Pulgarin, program manager at Sheridan’s Continuing and Professional Studies. “Our considerable program portfolio is constantly updated to be aligned with in-demand skills and career opportunities,” she explains. “Working with Amazon gives us a chance to understand the needs and objectives of a big corporate partner and, at the same time, contribute our expertise in effective adult education practices.”

There are two components to the partnership, she says. One is the in house training in Principles of Operations Management run by Sheridan at the Amazon facility in Brampton, which currently includes two to three classes each term. Two, Amazon employees are reimbursed for 95 per cent of the tuition when they sign up for Sheridan’s continuing education courses, says Ms. Velez-Pulgarin. “Our continuing education courses are designed with the interests and requirements of adult learners in mind. They are offered online or during weeknights and weekends to give people the flexibility to update their skills or get ready for second careers while they stay employed.”
Ms. Thompson adds, “Career Choice also gave many of my peers the opportunity to diversify their career options while still being able to help out their families on a financial level.”

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