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Chamber webinar addresses skill shortage crisis
With a looming work-force shortage on the horizon, are employers doing what they should to ensure their employees have the skills needed to be productive? Janet Lane, LA Executive Director, addressed the issue on a recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce webinar, along with Lindsey McIntosh, OLES and T. Scott Murray, DataAngel Policy Research Inc.
Janet Lane’s presentation, entitled My Employees don’t have the Essential Skills they need. So What? Now What?, outlined how learning opportunities in the Canadian workplace are lagging behind our OECD peers. The training that is provided is generally orientation or health and safety based. Such training tends to look at how to cope with a new workplace, rather than how to excel within it. Employers are not providing the Essential Skills training that would serve their businesses well; and, as a result, we are less productive and therefore less competitive as a country.
The Office for Literacy and Essential Skills , a branch of the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, identifies these Essential Skills:
- Reading, Writing, Numeracy,
- Document Use, Computer Use,
- Thinking, Oral Communication,
- Working with Others, and
- Continuous Learning.
Essential Skills are considered “foundational”. Workplace-specific skills are dependent on technical skills, which in turn are dependent on the nine identified workplace essential skills.
“We don’t get very far without Essential Skills,” states Lane. “The solution to a skills shortage is training."
One method employed by Literacy Alberta is Literacy and Essential Skills ‘embedding’, which is the integration of essential skills into conventional training opportunities. For example, training for a truck driver could embed numeracy activities, like calculating gas mileage and then determining trip budgets.
Literacy Alberta has partnered with government, non-profit agencies and private companies to embed Essential Skills into their training, ultimately leading to a more skilled and productive workforce.
Employers can be an integral part of the solution. Industry is constantly upgrading machinery, infrastructure and processes to improve productivity. Now is the time to invest in 'upgrading' their workforce's skills.
The webinar presentations are archived. This link will take you to the archived version.
Simply click on 'Launch Webinar' and register. It will then play back for you.