Parkland College teamed up with Parkland Regional Library on Thursday to co-host an Essential Skills Day celebration in Yorkton. The event at the Yorkton Co-op Food Store was staged as an opportunity to share the importance of Essential Skills with employers and the public.
Essential Skills Day began in 2010 as an effort to raise awareness and celebrate the importance of nine Essential Skills as defined by the Government of Canada. These are reading, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communication, working with others, thinking, computer use, and continuous learning.
“We all need a good set of Essential Skills to succeed in work and everyday life. We’re using them pretty much all the time,” said Gail Gorchynski, Essential Skills Consultant at Parkland College.
“Essential Skills serve as the foundation for learning all other skills, whether work related or a hobby. We know that when Essential Skills development is emphasized, everyone benefits.”
Canadian employers have reported that improved literacy skills result in increased retention, productivity, ability to work independently, and increased usage of new technology. Improved skills also reduce absenteeism, health and safety incidents, and error rates. Meanwhile, employees who participate in Literacy and Essential Skills programs increase their level of self-confidence, acquire new skills, are better prepared to seek promotion opportunities, and believe that they are valued by their workplaces.
Yorkton Co-op is one example of a local employer that has taken advantage of Parkland College’s customized Essential Skills training. The partnership set out to respond to Co-op’s specific needs for its employees. Staff members were trained in projects that focused on development and retention.
“The Essential Skills are used in everyday life in the community and in family literacy,” said Parkland Regional Library Literacy Coordinator Linda Jones, adding that Essential Skills information will be integrated with family literacy programming that takes place at libraries in the region. The library is also looking at providing training opportunities for computer use and other essential skills for youth and adults.
“I have always liked the ABC Life Literacy saying, ‘Learning happens in everything we do’,” Jones continued. “That applies to Essential Skills – we aim to help families be aware of and use their everyday opportunities.”
For more on Essential Skills Day, please visit ABC Life Literacy at essentialskillsday.ca.
Information about Parkland College’s Essential Skills training programs can be found on the college’s website at parklandcollege.sk.ca/programs/adultbasiced/wes.html.