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Occupation Specific Language Training For Newcomers (OSLT) And College Entry Programs For All Adults

By WENDY TERRY - December 9 2011

This article focuses on OSLT programs and lesser known entry programs like the General Arts and Science programs at the colleges. OSLT programs are free language training programs for newcomers who are looking to restart their careers in specific labour markets like business, health, human services, construction, automotive and technology.

You can find the college websites for these courses at Each website listed here leads to different program areas in each college.

Each college will have some programs that are unique and all of them will have programs that are similar. Subject listings and descriptions are not uniform. Each website highlights different areas; you may see a topic of interest on one website and it won’t be mentioned on another. That happens because colleges are large institutions and each is organized differently. So when searching for programs, the strategy is ASK and ASK and ASK again.

Sometimes it is better to tell someone what you need rather than asking for a specific type of training as that person may direct you to a better starting point than the one you are asking for. For example, you could say, “I’m a newcomer engineer looking for language training so I can get a job in Canada”

If you google Centennial’s site oslt@ you are linked to the School of Advancement. All the programs and services listed here will help you advance to college, university or work whether you are a newcomer or not.

The first page you are linked to is the Occupation Specific Language Training for Accounting and Finance. Not only can you learn the language associated with accounting and finance but you also practice typical interactions involving listening and speaking for this type of work. As with all OSLT programs, career building skills such as targeted resumes, interviewing, networking etc. are included.

By linking to Tuition Free courses on the navigation sub bar for the School of Advancement, then clicking on OSLT courses, you find other OSLT courses listed under Workplace Communication Skills for Business: Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing, Project Management, for Health Care and for Automotive Trades. All these courses cover similar material but are specific to each labour market.

The School of Advancement offers programs for all adult students which enable them to advance to college or university General Arts and Science. (GAS programs) 

Many newcomers tend to ignore any program with General Arts in its title but by earning a Certificate (one year) or Diploma (two years) you can transfer to university with 15 or 30 credits already earned or to a college program.

The best thing about the web page for GAS programs is they actually list the programs you can transfer to at a university or college by clicking on the link, Articulation Agreements. Articulation means joining two pieces of equipment together like a ball and socket. In this case the term is used metaphorically and means that a

GAS program can be joined with a college or university program. For example, if you earn a GAS Diploma from Centennial you can enter York University with 30 credits.

GAS programs, for which there is a tuition cost, are offered part-time as well as full-time.

Choosing the Right Career workshop, for all students, is a gem. For $5 you get nine hours of help thinking through a new career direction.

George Brown College

To find the same type of programs at George Brown, you need to look at two Centres:

  • the Centre for International and Immigrant Education; and
  • the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies.

When you google you get into Immigrant Education which offers Occupation Specific Language Training in Business, Health Sciences, Human Services, Construction, Automotive and Technology.

You also get a link to Entry Advising. Although linked to career counseling, these advisors give you educational counseling and are more focused on course selection at George Brown.

The side bar to Immigrant Education has a great link called Get Credit for What you Know. It outlines how you can get up to 75% of your course through Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and Transfer Credits. The PLAR process can give you credit for “knowledge and skills from previous work, volunteering and even non-credit learning.” This link also explains advanced standing (i.e. entering at the second year instead of the first year), and exemptions from George Brown courses based on credits from other sources. This process can save you valuable time by not repeating what you already know. These credit granting processes are available to all students not just to newcomers.

The Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies leads you to the General Arts and Science (GAS ) programs found at all colleges for all students. The George Brown site does not list articulation agreements with other institutions as did Centennial’s, so you need to ask.

Humber College

When you google you are linked directly to an OSLT page. On the sidebar you can link to an advising service. Here counsellors can help Internationally Trained Professionals with advice on “employment pathways and academic programs.”

The OSLT program seems to be housed in the English Language Centre of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences though this link is only clear when you use the Humber search engine to find Occupation Specific Language Training. At the school of Liberal Arts and Sciences you can find other entry programs for all students such as Academic Upgrading programs (ACE) and General Arts and Science (GAS) programs.

Every college has ACE programs see the September 2011 issue of Learning Curves at our web site page 7 under College Academic Upgrading is free.

Seneca College

If you google you reach a dedicated web page. On the side bar click on Occupations and you will get a detailed list of occupations for each sector. For instance, the Health Sciences Sector lists Dental Hygienist, Medical Radiation Technologist, Nurse, Personal Support worker and Sleep Technologist.

This OSLT page can link you to other programs. If you click on Seneca Faculty of Continuing Education and Training, you will find two useful faculties, the Faculty of Workforce Skills Development and the Faculty of Liberal Arts.

Like the other college websites, if you shop around these two you will find similar helpful entry programs. The Liberal Arts website has the most amazing link, Academic Opportunities. It is a detailed list of how you can take your Liberal Arts Diploma and ladder your way to a degree program at the University of Toronto, York University and other universities in Ontario, Canada and the USA.

Sheridan College

To find the same type of entry programs at Sheridan when you google you are linked to the home page of Sheridan College. Here you choose the type of student you are. Newcomers is one link and Future Students is the other useful link applicable to all students. The third program link on the Newcomers page is OSLT programs and the fourth one is Academic and Career Entrance programs (ACE). These ACE programs are open to all and are free To find the General Arts and Science Programs you find at other college sites from the Sheridan home page you link to Programs and then link to Liberal Arts.

Although not listed, there are credit granting processes like PLAR or articulation agreements to help you move on from your Sheridan program. So if you are interested, ask.

Durham College

Durham College does not have a web page for OSLT, but from the home page for Durham, go to Program and Courses and then in the Academic Schools menu box, click on School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Employment Services. There you will find the ACE programs and the GAS programs, one of which was titled University Articulation explaining how you can get from college to university.

Specialized Language Training (SLT)

SLT programs are similar programs to the OSLT ones for newcomers but offered at the School Boards and other sites. If you google Specialized Language Training, SLT programs in Peel Region, Toronto and York Region come up as well as for other areas in Ontario. No websites are listed but the phone numbers for the programs are listed.

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