Conestoga news

September 23, 2004 3:09 PM

TOWES: Reliable Standards for Workplace Hiring, Training Being Introduced

Every business, of whatever type and whatever size, has a large stake in finding, hiring and training the right people to make the business a success and help it reach its potential.

Now, there is a new, reliable tool to help businesses with these hiring and training decisions.

The Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assesses essential skills competencies in the areas of reading text, numeracy and document use. Essential skills are those common to virtually every job - skills such as reading, writing and thinking.

Conestoga will hold a free TOWES information session for employers and educators involved with skills identification and development. The session takes place from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, at Conestoga's Doon campus in Kitchener, Room 1E05. Contact Joyce Irving at 519-748-5220, ext. 2200 to reserve a place.

TOWES compares an individual's skills to ratings developed by the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), in order to identify areas of competency and areas needing further development. The test will help employers to increase workplace safety, improve quality and productivity, screen potential employees for skills and help current employees adapt quickly to new technologies.

TOWES uses authentic workplace documents such as catalogues, order forms, labels, schematics, regulations and manuals as the basis for problem sets. Questions range in difficulty and mimic actual workplace tasks - the test-taker assumes the role of a worker who needs to process information embedded in documents to complete the task. Scores are aligned to national occupational standards established by the federal government through the Essential Skills Research Project.

For employers, TOWES can be an affordable, effective solution to help ensure that workers have appropriate levels of essential skills. It can help employers focus on skill gaps, and do away with blanket testing and training that is not required. Employers can use TOWES for job applicant assessment, succession planning, and the development of training plans and programs. Oil and gas, agriculture, transportation, hospitality and mining are just some of the sectors benefiting from TOWES.

The October 7 information session will look at the content and use of TOWES, and at the benefits employers and educators can derive from an essential-skills approach.


CONTACT: Joyce Irving, 519-748-5220, ext. 2200,