Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour

New Workplace Essential Skills centre of excellence (10/03/30)

NB 442

March 30, 2010

SAINT JOHN (CNB) - A program improving adult literacy and promoting continuing learning in the workplace is being expanded with the opening of a new centre of excellence in Saint John. The program is known as Workplace Essential Skills (WES).

The announcement was made today by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault.

"This new centre of excellence is now the second one in the province promoting activities related to our Workplace Essential Skills program," said Arseneault. "The first centre opened last June in Bathurst, and it was designed mainly to serve the francophone sector. Today, the same vehicle for development will be available to the anglophone sector."

WES uses Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) to help identify an individual's strengths and skills, and it may also use a workplace practicum for those who are not employed and are seeking employment.

WES training can match employers and potential employees. It offers training directly in the workplace using specific materials that employees use on an ongoing basis.

The WES centres of excellence:

One of the successful initiatives is the TIES 2 Work program in Saint John. Through an investment of $250,000 over three years, it is providing employment opportunities for persons living in poverty. This is the second year of this initiative, which has the capacity to train and place up to 36 persons each year with various local companies.

"I am pleased with initiatives such as this one because it illustrates the need to work in partnership with employers and the community, as represented by Vibrant Communities Saint John, to provide training and employment opportunities to low-income New Brunswickers," said Arseneault. "It was a common theme heard during the poverty reduction forum and is reflected in Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan."

WES provides skills training needed by adults to participate fully in the labour force. The nine essential skills as identified by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada are:

The program continues to expand, now including 35 initiatives around the province. Other WES initiatives include such employers as Fundy Drywall Ltd. in Dieppe, Chaleur Sawmills in Belledune, Le Phare des services communautaires Inc. in Bouctouche, Horizon Health Network in Moncton and Ganong Bros. Ltd. in St. Stephen.

10/03/30

MEDIA CONTACT: Thomas Lizotte, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-453-8617.

10/03/30