Training for workplace skills upgrading is crucial for a company to stay competitive. However, the amount of time that can be spent on training is limited. For that reason, the upgrading must address the needs of the company and workers in the allotted amount of time.
The instructors delivering the training must work closely with the company to ensure that the learning objectives of the training are met. These objectives are established by the company, and can include preparing employees for new job-specific skills or raising an employee’s skills to the standard for a specific occupation at that company.
In addition to these training program objectives, the instructors need to establish learning objectives for each program participant. Because the skill level of participants varies, assessing them with a standardized test will reveal skill gaps to be addressed in the program.
Essential Skills upgrading programs, for example, use The Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) to determine a test taker’s level in three skill areas: reading, document use, and numeracy. All occupations require workers to be at specific Essential Skills levels to be successful at that job.
After obtaining the scores, instructors will know where the skill gaps are for the Essential Skills upgrading. For example, if the job requires level 3 Essential Skills, and the worker’s TOWES scores range from 1 to 2 in the three skill areas, upgrading will focus on raising the worker up to that level.
Based on the program objectives and results from the assessment, the program can be modified to ensure that each program participant reaches obtainable goals within the time frame of the training. A worker with a large gap between his or her skills and the target skill level for the training will need extra help and some modifications to the program. Additional follow up and training may be required. However, a worker with a smaller skill gap may reach the goal for the program by the end of the training and require little or no additional training.
After participants take the same assessment test at the end of the course, instructors can compare before and after scores to see if there has been an increase in level as a result of the skills upgrading. The length of time for the upgrading will affect the amount of skill gain. The scores will help to determine next steps, such as whether more upgrading is required, or if individual support is needed to get that worker to the skill level needed for that job.