Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour

Minister's message for International Adult Learners' Week (09/03/03)

NB 258

March 3, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following message was issued today by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault in recognition of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO's sponsorship of International Adult Learners' Week, March 2 - 8:

We know that literacy has an important role to play in the lives of New Brunswickers, and that adult literacy has a significant affect on our economy and society. Our adult literacy levels will affect our economic productivity and its capacity to offer employment opportunities to individuals. Literacy also encourages our overall health, civic engagement, quality of life and, ultimately, our equity and rights as individuals.

New Brunswick's adult literacy levels present an important challenge for us in reaching our goal of self-sufficiency by 2026. This challenge, combined with the province's demographic profile and anticipated industrial shifts, means that we have a strong need for skilled workers. We therefore need to work with our working-age New Brunswickers to ensure they have the necessary foundation to learn and develop new skills.

Community-based literacy initiatives, including Community Adult Learning Centres and Laubach Literacy New Brunswick's one-on-one tutoring service, provide opportunities for adults to improve their literacy skills. The Delivery of the Workplace Essential Skills (WES) program will be significantly expanded this year to help employable and employed adults attain the literacy and essential skills they need in the workforce. A number of pilot projects are underway with employers featuring in-house WES training for their employees.

In addressing adult literacy challenges, the government will continue to co-operate with many partners - literacy organizations, literacy teachers, volunteers and employers - to help us on our path to enhancing adult literacy in New Brunswick.

I would like to thank all of our partners for the important contributions they have made. I would also like to thank adult learners who have courageously taken the initiative to return to learning, and I wish you all the best in your continued progress.

New Brunswick is pleased to support the Canadian Commission for UNESCO's efforts to promote International Adult Learners' Week 2009 and to support Canada's commitment to promoting education and adult literacy for sustainable development.