Work: Supply Chain Training

By Gilda Spitz

When you buy a wool sweater at the Hudson’s Bay Company, you seldom think about how it got there. The process started with a sheep, and continued through various stages of shearing, dying, knitting, packaging, and transportation before it landed in your shopping cart. That is a supply chain.

According to CBS Business Network (BNET), a supply chain is the network of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers who turn raw materials into finished goods and services and deliver them to consumers.

Supply Chain Management In Canada
The website of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council says, “the supply chain is one of the most essential sectors of the Canadian economy, involving about 745,000 workers from a range of occupations and industries.”

According to Sandra Ferguson, Program Manager for the Supply Chain Awareness Program for Employment (SCAPE) at MicroSkills Newcomer Services, there is currently a shortage of people with tactical and managerial skills in Canada. She explains that many newcomers come to Canada with this type of experience, but have difficulty in finding employment.

That’s where training comes in.

Supply Chain Training
Many educational facilities provide training in the field of supply chain management to address the current shortages in Canada. After completion of a supply chain program, you can find a job as an analyst or manager in a large company, working in departments such as purchasing, warehousing, transportation, production, and international trade. The success rate depends on many factors, but, for example, the
SCAPE program completion and employment rate is 70-75 percent, says Ferguson.

If you are interested in finding work in the supply chain field, you must do some research to find the best program for your needs, depending on your education and experience. You can start by investigating programs such as the following.

Microskills Newcomer Services
The SCAPE program at Community MicroSkills Development Centre, which is funded by the Government of Ontario, provides services such as:

• Individualized assessment and support
• Customized action plan for a supply chain career path
• Supply chain sector training
• Sector-specific terminology and communication skills
• Networking and mentoring opportunities
• Interactive sessions with employers
• Job leads and workplace support

Also, the program might include special events such as a tour of a Canadian facility, so that you can see the similarities to and differences from your work experience outside Canada.

To qualify for the SCAPE program, you must have some post-secondary education from your home country, at least three years of experience before you arrived in Canada, and you have to have been in Canada less than three years.

The length of the program depends on your needs. If you are close to being “job-ready,” explains Ferguson, you may need to learn only some Canadian supply chain terminology and job search skills; if so, your individualized program may last for a month or two. On the other hand, if you need more help before you can be ready to look for a supply chain job, the program may last up to four months.

Humber College
The Supply Chain Management course at Humber College consists of two four-month semesters. Heather Mackay, Program Coordinator, explains that the program has been operating for 11 years.

According to the Humber College website, students “learn such skills as researching and analyzing the marketplace; developing demand forecasts; evaluating suppliers’ capabilities to deliver; developing aggregate production plans and detailed master production schedules; and analyzing business processes.”

In order to enter the Humber SCM program, you must have a degree in almost any field – business, engineering, or even arts for example. If you obtained your degree in another country, it will be assessed for equivalency with a Canadian university degree. When you graduate, you obtain an Ontario Graduate Certificate.

Mackay says that many students already have workplace experience from their home countries, and enter the SCM program to obtain Canadian accreditation. You can build relationships with Canadian employers through the Humber program, and also gain valuable experience with SAP (software) in the classroom. Says Mackay, “It is important for students to be exposed to SAP because employers are looking for this exposure and knowledge.”

Seneca College
Seneca College is another facility that offers supply chain education. The Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management program consists of two four-month semesters, resulting in an Ontario College Graduate Certificate.

According to the Seneca College website, the program provides “an intensive and coordinated approach to study the flow of goods and services from raw material suppliers to the final customer... providing the student with a comprehensive understanding of the international business process.”

For More Information
www.supplychaincanada.org/en
www.microskills.ca/SupplyChain
(or call 416-247-7181 ext. 2311)
www.humber.ca/program/10151
www.senecac.on.ca/fulltime/SCM.html  

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Gilda SpitzAs an award-winning technical writer for almost 20 years, Gilda has expanded her skillset to writing clear, easy-to-read non-fiction in addition to her usual wide variety of writing, editing, and indexing services. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.gsconsulting.ca.