McDonald’s Trainees to Get College Diploma Credits
Mickey-D employees rejoice: you can earn one year of a college business diploma in Ontario by training instead at the Golden Arches.
But you have to be management material, and it will take up to three years .
McDonald’s Canada says employees training to become managers can now receive the first year of course credits towards a college business diploma at any of the province’s 24 public colleges in a first-of-its-kind agreement struck with Colleges Ontario.
The fast food giant estimates the partnership will translate into tuition cost savings for eligible workers of up to $4,500, or half, since it takes two years to get a business or business administration diploma at Ontario colleges.
“We’re proud to offer our employees training and opportunities that build skills relevant in today’s world and that they can take with them well into their futures,” said Sharon Ramalho, Chief People Officer of McDonald’s Canada.
She says McDonald’s management training teaches skills that will set young employees up for future success, including leadership, communications, team-building, hospitality, problem-solving and profit management.
Workers in the burger behemoth’s management development program have to take a few courses at the head office in Don Mills over about three years. But besides ongoing reading and learning from numerous manuals, it’s only about two weeks of actual classes. So the vast majority of the training is very hands-on in the restaurant, Ramalho noted.
“It’s not a walk in the park,” said Doug Fisher, president of food consultancy FHG International in Toronto, noting training typically includes 40 or 50-hour work weeks.
“It’s an attempt to catch them (young people) early. I think it’s what the industry needs,” he said.
Fisher says he could see competitors like Subway and Burger King following suit down the road.
“It’s a low-paying, bad wages and long hours industry, so it’s encouraging that their work will really count for something,” he noted.
The average age of McDonald’s managers likely to take advantage of the program is 18 to 25, the company said. Once they successfully complete the training, they have the choice of going to college full-time, part-time, or online.
“This marks a new way of thinking about how employees can get access to further education and training without repeating learning they have already acquired,” said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario.
The first year of a college business program has 10 to 12 courses including introductory business, accounting, marketing, mathematics, business communication, management, some systems fundamentals and ethics, she said.
Though it will mean less tuition money heading into Ontario colleges, Franklin said overall it will translate into more potential students pursuing a business degree.
McDonald’s Canada offers a similar program in B.C. with one post-secondary school, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and is also exploring programs with other post-secondary institutions across the country.
The burger giant employs 12,000 managers across Canada, including 4,000 in Ontario.