C1 literacy and essential skills part 1

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  • 1. Literacy and Essential Skills for the Canadian Labour Market Presentation to the OCASI Professional Development Conference Toronto, ON,June 20-22, 2011

2. Outline

  • The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills
      • Mission, Mandate and Focus
  • Literacy and Essential Skills
      • Definition, Benefits, Newcomer Context
  • National Dialogue on Immigrant LES
      • Findings
  • Literacy and Essential Skills Tools
      • Categorization and Examples
      • Tailoring Approaches to Learners Needs
      • Feedback
  • 5 .Questions/Comments

Outline 2 3. Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) RESEARCH PROGRAMMING Researching LES issues TOOLS Development and dissemination PARTNERSHIPS Mandate:OLES is a centre of expertise with a labour market focus, building awareness and capacity in what works for improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. Funds projects through Grants & Contributions With OGDs, PTs, non-profit organizations OLES does this through : OLES is part ofHuman Resources and Skills Development Canada(HRSDC) 4. Understanding Literacy & Essential Skills Reading Writing Document Use Numeracy Computer Use Thinking Oral Communication Working with Others Continuous Learning

  • Literacy and Essential Skills:
  • are needed for work, learning and life;
  • are the foundation for learning all other skills;
  • help people evolve with their jobs and adapt toworkplace change.
  • These skills are used in nearly every job and throughout daily life in different ways and at varying levels of complexity .

4 Literacy Essential Skills 5.

  • Benefits for Individuals:
    • Improved self confidence
    • Increased job opportunities
    • Higher earnings
  • Benefits for Employers:
    • Higher productivity
    • Improved safety
    • Greater employee retention

Why Are Literacy and Essential Skills Important? 6. Context

  • Within the immigrant population low literacy is disproportionately high


    • 60%of recent and established immigrants lack the necessary skills to function in a knowledge based economy, compared to37%of the Canadian-born population.
    • Despite having high levels of education, recent immigrants are more likely than Canadian-born workers to have lower earnings: 67% earn less than $20/hour as compared to 43% of Canadian-born.
    • Official language fluency andliteracy skillsare identified by both immigrants and employers as being primary barriers to immigrant labor market integration.
    • In a global economy, a highly skilled population is an asset and fundamental to economic growth (Statistics Canada, 2008)

Strong literacy and essential skills are a prerequisite to learning new skills and ensuring effective transitions into the labour market 7.

  • OLES worked together withCitizenship and Immigration Canada(CIC) and held three events in 2010.
  • Vancouver Roundtable
  • Executive Directors and heads of key stakeholder organizations (service providers, academic institutions, employers and literacy organizations) from across Canada were engaged in a discussion to identify LES issues and barriers facing immigrants.
  • Practitioners Fora (Calgary and Toronto)
  • Brought together practitioners from key stakeholder organizations to begin to develop practical solutions to address the issues addressed by the roundtable.

National Dialogue on Immigrants and LES 8.

  • Safeway Canada
  • Safeway is a large grocery store chain in W. Canada that is involved in various innovative initiatives to hire, retain and promote newcomers in various positions within their company.
  • LES Issues
  • Immigrants are important to its labour force growth.
  • English Skills may not be sufficient for the position.
  • Non-verbal communication skills in a Canadian context may be lacking.
  • Government, Service Providers, and Educational Institutions can play a vital role by:
    • developing tools/ practices to assist with the integration of new immigrants;
    • ensuring that programs provide immigrants with the skills that are in demand in the workplace

Findings: An Employers Perspective 9.

  • South Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
  • SAIT is a polytechnic in Calgary that has also developed innovative LES initiatives for newcomers
  • Steady increase in SAIT L2 learners - up to a 50% increase in some programs .
  • LES Issues
  • Oral Communication (including pronunciation), use of sector-specific vocabulary, writing skills,cultural knowledge related to the workplace (includes non-verbal communication).
  • This lack of skills creates barriers not only to success in school but ultimately in entering the workforce.

Findings : An Educational Institutions Perspective 10. Literacy and Essential Skills Tools

  • Free and easy-to-use tools that can address different
  • LES challenges
  • Can be used by various audiences: Teachers/Trainers/ Career Counsellors, Individuals (Job Seekers & Workers), Employers and HR Professionals, Apprentices & Tradespersons
  • Can be self-administered or delivered through
  • practitioners such as career counsellors,
  • teachers etc.

11. Tool Categories

    • Tools to better understand your LES strengths and weaknesses
    • Tools to improve LES levels
    • Information about how LES are used in the trades


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