AWES and TIQ Software launch 18 new courses at no charge to learners
Course series aims to help new workers and immigrants build essential skills — even during a pandemic.
EDMONTON - July 14, 2020
The pilot launch of the Skills for Work online series is a big step in a new direction for Alberta Workforce Essential Skills, and one that expands their reach beyond borders to an audience actively seeking what they have to offer.
“49 per cent of the Canadian population don't have the skills needed to engage with work, community, or society in a consistent way.” said Cindy Messaros Executive Director of AWES.
Almost half of the Canadian population, many of whom face significant barriers, don’t have the essential skills training they need. This is where AWES and TIQ Software have partnered to provide the solution.
Messaros said when employees get laid off, it’s the immigrants who tend to get laid off first. The more AWES can break barriers and help immigrants develop skills related to real workplace content and culture, the better.
Helping immigrants leverage their skills protects them against lay-offs, and increases their ability to retain employment, and be productive and safe at work.
“At AWES, we’ve been advocating for individuals who face barriers in the workplace for decades. This is part of that work,” said Messaros.
"Employers often identify lack of common sense or motivation as the reasons for problems in the workplace," she added. AWES recognizes that workplace issues are often the result of skill gaps that each of the 18 new courses can address.
“If an employee keeps getting something wrong, it might look like they’re uncooperative, but it’s more likely they simply lack the underlying skills to figure it out,” she said. “We can help with this.”
The series was designed primarily for immigrants who speak English as an additional language, with the first 9 courses targeted to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 3-5 for basic English and the second 9 moving into CLB (6-8) for intermediate English. Courses can also be used by anyone looking for skills development and employment readiness.
The course material is useful for all. It’s based on a thorough investigation of employer and employee needs woven into an integral framework that's easy to engage with and understand.
“We know the materials fill a need for our learners, their instructors and employers who have given us their wish-lists for skills-ready employees,” she said.
The new course uses gaming principles to improve learning outcomes and engagement. It’s the first time AWES has tried this approach, but they say they’re excited about what it means for those who need it. The courses will help break down access barriers, it allows their content to be learned through tablets, computers, and even smartphones making skill development possible anywhere and at a pace that best suits the individual.
“We believe most productivity, health and safety issues in the workplace can be attributed to an underlying skills gap,” Messaros said, adding that these courses couldn’t have come at a more needed time, with the current pandemic and the inability for face-to-face instruction, the workers are going to need a way to develop these skills so they can find gainful employment.
“This is good for them, the employers, and the economy,” said Messaros
The Skills for Work pilot series is available today at no charge to learners until March 1, 2021 thanks to the Government of Alberta.Additional Quotes
Cindy Messaros - AWES
“We offer training and facilitation professional development workshops for practitioners to teach them how to use our materials most effectively. This involves teaching the theory of our integrated model and working through the application of it through using our materials.”
- “Aside from being able to offer it digitally, the skills are transferable and can be applied to any workplace context. This course will help with skills development and readiness for employment.”
- “We were looking for a way to make it more accessible to a larger audience. It has been an experiment and we are looking forward to seeing the results.”
- “Working with partners like TIQ Software who have done the research and have the experience is critical.”
- “We know that for training and skills development to be effective, both sides of a problem need to be addressed. In other words, where there are employees who need training, there are also supervisors and managers who need training. Where there is a reading problem, there is most likely a writing problem as well.”
- “I think given the times, it is going to play a much larger role that it has, and perhaps much larger than we would hope for.”
Skills for Work
The Skills for Work series includes 18 online courses that help new workers adapt to the culture, language, and rules of a new workplace. These digital courses teach workplace orientation, communication, health and safety content needed for success. The series begins by using basic English (CLB 3-5) but helps develop skills towards intermediate (CLB 6-8) English by using industry examples, common terms, next level engagement and learning techniques.
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.
We make learning fun and entertaining at work. TIQ Software helps your employees learn more by delivering personalized portals, modernized courses, and immediate analytics and all of it can be accessed on any device.
Cindy Messaros, Executive Director
Jason Suriano, CEO