When Adam Smoluk stepped into his new role as managing director of Film Training Manitoba two years ago, he knew it was also time to take his next step in lifelong learning.
Film Training Manitoba provides training and workforce development to support the growth of the province’s booming film and television industry. “As an executive, I am often dealing with competing interests and unionized environments,” Smoluk says. “I needed to develop my skills in managing conflict in the workplace.”
After researching programs across Canada, Smoluk decided the Leading Through Conflict certificate from Western Continuing Studies was the perfect fit. The three-course accelerated program combines interactive remote learning and independent study to help managers learn how to lead difficult conversations, address team tension, and resolve conflict.
“The program is perfect for someone like me who is working long hours in an executive position,” says Smoluk, who completed the certificate in less than six months.
Smoluk credits Western Continuing Studies instructor Janine Higgins with changing the way he looks at conflict. “Most people just want to avoid arguments,” he notes. “One of the concepts she brought forward is that conflict exists, even inside yourself. Once you understand that conflict is inevitable, you can develop a willingness to engage it and to do your best to navigate it.”
Smoluk was so impressed with Higgins’ professional knowledge and teaching expertise that he is working with Western Continuing Studies to create conflict management training for Manitoba’s film and television professionals.
Learning new skills has been key to his own career advancement within the organization. Having worked in film and television as an actor, director, and producer, Smoluk joined Film Training Manitoba as a part-time administrative assistant 15 years ago. “You just can’t predict where life will take you, so I’m always looking to develop my knowledge,” he says.
“As a professional, it’s easy to fall into the habit of doing things the way they’ve always been done,” Smoluk says. “It’s a great feeling to discover something new that you can apply right away. I’m a huge fan of continuing education. The investment is worth every penny.”
Micro-credentials at Western Continuing Studies are courses developed with industry partners alongside a robust quality assurance process to ensure they surpass academic and industry standards.