Written by Sharon Aschaiek
Workplace Communication Skills for Entrepreneurship and Sales & Marketing
Occupation-specific Language Training (OSLT) courses are free workplace communication training courses for immigrants. They are available full-time or part-time, in class or online. These courses are offered at many Ontario colleges and cover a range of occupations in business, construction, health sciences, human services and technology. OSLT is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and coordinated by Colleges Ontario.
Alireza Dowlatmodeli is a seasoned sales professional who currently operates a franchise of an international shipping and freight consulting firm. He helps businesses from diverse sectors with shipping their products across North America and worldwide.
Alireza Dowlatmodeli, International Shipping & Freight, Franchise Owner
I have experience with business workplace communications in the Middle East and Europe, but this course taught me about what I should know in Canada, and specifically, Ontario.
Originally from Iran, Dowlatmodeli completed a BA in economics at Azad University in Tehran, and has more than two decades of experience working in sales and marketing. In 2015, he and his family settled in Toronto.
To establish his sales career here, in 2020 Dowlatmodeli enrolled in the OSLT course Workplace Communication Skills for Entrepreneurship and Sales & Marketing. The course provides practical, relevant training to internationally trained or experienced professionals who have run their own businesses or worked in sales and marketing.
Dowlatmodeli took the course online two days a week via Collège Boréal in Toronto. Since completing the course, he has also been a guest speaker in OSLT classes, and is now also learning French. Here, he shares about his experience.
Q: What are some of the most useful things you learned in this course about workplace communications in an Ontario business?
A: I have experience with business workplace communications in the Middle East and Europe, but this course taught me about what I should know in Canada, and specifically, Ontario.
It helped me understand how to provide clear and concise information, introduce myself to others, leave phone messages, make presentations, participate in meetings and deliver messages properly to other team members. I also learned about how to use the right language when helping a client resolve an issue.
We were given different roles to play in mock workplace communication scenarios, and that helped us practise our language skills, which was very useful training.
Q: The courses also focuses on the cultural aspects of workplace communication. How helpful was this to you?
A: I learned that in Canada, hierarchy doesn’t matter so much—all employees are encouraged to express themselves and share any good ideas they may have. There’s a strong sense of teamwork in the workplace and everyone growing together.
Q: How beneficial was it to learn with other internationally educated or trained business professionals?
My classmates were from India, Lebanon, Pakistan and different parts of Africa. After the course ended, some of us stayed in touch, and we shared information on our career activities. It was good to build my network in this way and learn things from other newcomers entering the business field.
Q: How has this course been useful to you in advancing your transportation logistics business?
A: It taught me the right ways to engage with others, whether by writing or in person, so that I can get my message across clearly. Also, as a newcomer trying to establish myself, I wasn’t able to spend a lot of money on professional development, so this course being free of charge was really helpful.
If you’re an internationally educated or experienced professional, learn how OSLT can help you build your workplace communication skills and cultural knowledge: https://co-oslt.org/.
OSLT is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and coordinated by Colleges Ontario.