Workers who need skills upgrading have some commonalities: limited time for training, specific skills to upgrade, and a need for training to have practical applications. A customized curriculum can be designed to address these needs.
An employer may request training because supervisors are finding that the reading and math skills of some workers are below the standard needed for the job. SkillPlan educators will research the occupation by reading Essential Skills profile descriptions of the job to find out what skills are required to perform the job well. Many of these profiles are available on the Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) website. SkillPlan educators also interview workers and their employers and supervisors for information about the job.
The curriculum for a reading and math skills upgrading program will be designed based on the profile descriptions for reading, document use, and numeracy skills. For example, if the occupation is a plant operator, the curriculum will include lessons about reading equipment manuals, finding information in assembly drawings, and measuring dimensions because those skills are required for that job. The program goals will be based on the skills and skill levels from these profile descriptions.
Next, SkillPlan educators will analyze assessment scores for the workers to determine what skills need upgrading. A Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) test will provide data on the reading, document use, and numeracy skills levels of training participants. Individual learning plans can be established based on the test results.
Individual learning plans are important for making sure that training participants are able to achieve goals by the end of the training. Document use levels for the plant operator occupation, for example, should be at a level 3, but a document use level 1 participant entering the program may only be able to reach a level 2 at the end of a short period of training.
Skill levels vary for each occupation, so a customized, occupation-specific curriculum should be designed based on these Essential Skills levels. Other factors to consider in the design are individual skills levels, duration of the training, and requirements of the employer.
A curriculum designed with these considerations in mind will increase the skill levels of workers and address the needs of the employer and the job.