Skilling UP: An essential skills training project that could help your company

According to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the benefits of Essential Skills training include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Less time per task
  • Reduced error rates
  • Less waste
  • Enhanced workplace efficiencies
  • Ability to apply new knowledge and skills on the job
  • Better workplace health and safety
  • Capacity to understand safety instructions
  • Better communication between workers and management
  • Ability to work effectively as a team
  • Capacity to communicate and use technologies with confidence
  • Ability to keep pace with changes in the workplace

AWES recently completed the Skilling UP project, the first social finance-based Essential Skills training of its kind in Canada that provides concrete proof that workers are learning, implementing, and retaining their Essential Skills training.

Why was The Skilling UP project so effective?

  • Skilling UP customized curriculum to meet the specific needs of each company, regardless of sector.
  • We walked each factory floor or work site, reviewed each company’s internal documents, templates, manuals, etc.
  • We talked to front-line employees. We talked to their supervisors.
  • We asked specific questions about their daily challenges and what would help them do their jobs better.
  • We assessed employees to see where they were at so we could predict where issues might arise.
  • We understand production schedules and demands and worked around company schedules.
  • Training was provided by experienced instructors who have worked with hundreds of employees across Canada and across industries.
  • We provided employers with knowledge on the importance of essential skills to their business goals, the nature of their own essential skills “problem” described in a way that they could relate to, and the benefits of higher levels of essential skills and skill upgrading.

The result for every company was fully customized training, tied tightly to company activities, outcomes, tasks, and procedures. The Skilling UP training framework is now being offered by the Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) as an effective approach to workplace essential skills training.

AWES is also publishing a series of blog posts and articles on this project between now and the end of this year, which should be of great interest to companies looking for ways to improve productivity, increase employee satisfaction, decrease employee turnover, and make their teams work better together. You can access these articles on the AWES website at or follow AWES on Twitter at @AWESAlberta

Who is AWES?

The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) is a non-profit organization focused on training, research and curriculum development. AWES specializes in developing customized essential skills training solutions for organizations, employers and practitioners.

Employers often come to AWES when they have a problem. The issue might affect productivity, a worker’s ability to understand and implement training, employee retention, or health and safety performance. This may cause an increase in absenteeism or time wasted redoing tasks, workplace errors when calculating formulas, filling in shift or incident reports, or making decisions. The problem is often misidentified as a behavioral issue with the workers themselves: a poor attitude, a lack of initiative or a lack of common sense. It’s far more likely that your workforce has essential skills gaps, and we can help.

AWES identifies skill gaps and develops customized and specialized essential skills responses to problems.

For more information about essential skills training and the Skilling UP project, click HERE.

The Skilling UP Program is the result of a partnership between AWES and the Government of Canada’s Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program, supported by SkillPlan, DataAngel, the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC)and the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC).

Read more posts about: Leadership, Management, People, Production, Productivity