Written by Sharon Aschaiek
Workplace Communication Skills for Accounting and Finance
Occupation-specific Language Training (OSLT) courses are free workplace communication training courses for immigrants. They are offered at many Ontario colleges 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.
Shuyang Chen works as a quotation specialist in the sales department of a lighting company.
Shuyang Chen, Quotation Specialist (Sales)
The OSLT course was a wonderful opportunity for newcomers to develop their business workplace language skills and connect with each other. It also helped me build the confidence to continue trying to develop my career in the financial services sector.
A resident of Mississauga, Shuyang is originally from China, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. Seeking to further her education in a new environment, she moved to Canada in 2016, and completed a master’s degree in financial management at the University of Ottawa.
This past winter, Shuyang participated in the OSLT Business course Accounting & Finance/Entrepreneurship, Sales & Marketing at Mohawk College. The course provides practical, relevant training to internationally educated or experienced business professionals with expertise in accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, sales or marketing. Here, she shares about her experience.
Q: What are some of the most useful things you learned in the course about communications in a business workplace?
A: The faculty focused on the skills we need to communicate with each other in a business setting, including using the right language for different types of interactions, understanding idioms and pronouncing words correctly.
We practised workplace correspondence such as writing emails and leaving voice messages, and also writing a business report.
As well, we learned job searching communication skills, including developing an elevator speech—a brief summary of my professional experience and expertise—and writing a thank-you note to an employer after a job interview.
Q: The course involves role-playing different work scenarios to practise new language skills and understand the cultural aspects of workplace communication. How helpful was this to you?
A: We would have breakout rooms online where we would roleplay different situations that are common in a business environment, such as a team meeting. That provided an opportunity to practice communicating with each other as co-workers.
I learned that in Canada, employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas with management, which is new for me. So when meetings take place at my work, I know that I can also make suggestions.
Q: How beneficial was it to learn with other internationally educated or trained business professionals?
A: In the course, I met other internationally experienced business professionals from China as well as from countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Everyone in the course was friendly and supportive, and it helped me to build confidence in myself. I developed good relationships with some of my classmates, and some of us connected on LinkedIn and WhatsApp. As well, I got my current job through a referral from one of my classmates.
Q: How has this course been useful to you in your job?
A: What I learned in the course helped prepare me for interacting with coworkers and managers at my job. The OSLT course was a wonderful opportunity for newcomers to develop their business workplace language skills and connect with each other. It also helped me build the confidence to continue trying to develop my career in the financial services sector.
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.