Professional Development and Training


PCF9 was the biggest professional development opportunity made available by COL in 2019 and it enabled support to a very large number of individuals from Commonwealth countries.

The next round of applications will now be accepted after 1 May 2020 for events that take place later in the year.


COL contributes to professional development and training in open and distance learning (ODL) and technology-based approaches and to acquiring new knowledge and skills by providing individuals with experience outside their normal working environment — at COL, an attachment in another institution or through conference participation. COL may also support conference organisers if the conference objectives are consistent with COL’s mandate and Strategic Plan. These types of professional development and training are outlined here:

Executive Secondment

COL offers secondment/sabbatical opportunities for senior officials/academics/civil society representatives in Commonwealth governments, institutions or organisations to stay in Vancouver, Canada, for up to one month and work on specific projects related to COL’s mandate. 


COL provides financial support for ODL professionals and COL partners who are at an early stage or mid-point in their careers and would benefit from a short-term attachment to another institution/organisation. 

Conference Organisation

COL may support conference organisers within the Commonwealth where the aims and objectives of the conference are consonant with COL’s mission and values and the objectives of its Strategic Plan. 

Conference Attendance

COL provides resources to enable individuals to attend ODL conferences where that applicant had demonstrated that no other means of support are available. COL shall consider support for any of the following items: conference registration, lowest-fare travel and/or accommodation.