NEW: OSLT for Internationally Educated Nurses. Online Construction Trades courses. Please visit New/Upcoming Courses for a list of course offerings.


Sanaz Farzadfard, Senior Team Leader

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 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.

For immigrants who are trying to secure a job or start a business this is a course that can help them find their way.
Sanaz Farzadfard

Senior Team Leader

For banking professional, career success began with workplace language course for newcomers

Offered in person and online at Seneca College, the free Occupation-specific Language Training (OSLT) course teaches newcomers how to interact with others in a business work environment. It also helps participants understand the cultural aspects of business workplaces and gain career-building expertise.

“I wanted to better understand the culture of workplaces here, and what is involved in professional networking,” says Farzadfard about her decision to enroll.

Taking place one day a week on campus, the classes focused on how to communicate effectively with customers, colleagues, employees and suppliers. Classwork involved practising communication skills in a variety of formats: face to face, by phone, by email, in presentations. Among the communication and cultural assignments she most enjoyed was creating and delivering a presentation about singer Justin Bieber.

“I learned about how communication works in the workplace—how to write clearly and talk with people in a way that I am understood,” she says.

Beyond communication, this course also covers essential knowledge and practices for developing one’s career. Participants learn about the business landscape in the province, including key associations and resources. They also learn how to develop an effective resumé and cover letter, build their networking skills and answer common questions in a job interview.

Farzadfard says what helped her maintain her momentum throughout the course was the skillful instruction and kind guidance of the faculty teaching the course.

“She was one of the best people I could have ever met,” she says. “The way she showed us how to talk to people, how to write, what to expect at work—she helped us a lot and was very encouraging.”

Another major benefit, Farzadfard says, was learning with others in the same situation — internationally trained professionals from regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Many of these classmates have stayed in touch over the years on LinkedIn and Facebook, offering each other job leads and moral support in their career journeys. Several met recently for a 10-year reunion gathering.

While a decade has passed since Farzadfard’s participation in the OSLT course, she has continued to apply the workplace communication skills she learned to a career in the financial services sector. She worked for three years at BMO in sales, customer service and management. In 2016 she joined a major bank where she is currently a senior team leader in the estate department. It’s the kind of role where her OSLT training is especially useful, as she regularly engages in interpersonal communication with the 16 employees she oversees as well as with clients and her supervisors.

“For immigrants who are trying to secure a job or start a business,” she says, “this is a course that can help them find their way.”

If you’re an internationally educated or experienced professional, learn how OSLT can help you build your workplace communication skills and cultural knowledge:

OSLT is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and coordinated by Colleges Ontario.

Bottom Banner in English