Conestoga news

November 4, 2008 9:37 AM

Better Skills for Employees: Conestoga Part of National Project


Conestoga is one of only three Ontario college-sector participants chosen for involvement in a national project to develop and support a valuable resource for employers - Essential Skills Workplace Services (ESWS).

The project, led by British Columbia's Douglas College and funded by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), aims to assist local employers to identify and develop the essential skills their employees need to perform safely, completely and efficiently at work. The two-year effort will be geared towards coordinating and supporting the integration and evaluation of an Essential Skills approach into workplace areas identified by employers.

Through collaboration with its partner institutions, Douglas will develop a service-delivery model that will offer employers and industries an Essential Skills continuum: workplace/industry awareness; assessment of work and workplace needs; and enhancement of these skill levels in workers.

Conestoga brings to the project its knowledge and ability in the workplace delivery of Essential Skills, and an established network of employer and industry relationships. Also participating in Ontario are Fanshawe College (Woodstock campus) and the Ontario College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading.

Research shows that most occupations in Canada require what is known as Essential Skills Level 3, yet more that 40 per cent of Canada's workforce is below that level. Low levels in the Essential Skills area lead to more accidents, lower productivity, higher error rates and impairment of the ability to learn and retain technical and job-specific training.

On the other hand, improvement of Essential Skills levels can result in higher productivity, better adaptability to new or changing situations, lower accident rates and opportunities for promotion to more highly skilled positions.

Contact: Pamela Jadischke, 519-885-0300, ext. 5542,