Essential Skills for Atlantic Fisheries (ESAF) and Essential Employability Skills for the Health Sector (EES-HS) are projects which used an innovative approach to training for vacant entry-level positions in the Atlantic Canadian fisheries and health sectors.
The ESAF project, employed a holistic and two-pronged approach to training that focused on both participants and supervisors. The project sought to develop skills which would maximize the chances of long-term success for the individuals entering vacant entry-level positions while also providing supervisors with valuable tools and strategies to assist in this success.

The ESAF project targeted the fishing industry in rural coastal communities facing labour shortages and unemployed or underemployed individuals. These challenges are hindering the Atlantic seafood industry’s ability to meet client demand and stay competitive in a global world.

The ESAF project was funded by the Government of Canada’s National Essential Skills Initiatives. It was led by the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick in partnership with Literacy Nova Scotia, PEI Literacy Alliance and Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council.
The Essential Employability Skills for the Health Sector (EES-HS) Pilot Project was a collaborative Pan-Atlantic and team-based initiative. The innovative EES-HS project provided targeted training to unemployed and underemployed participants for in-demand, entry-level positions in the health sector workforce. ESS-HS combined hard and soft skills to prepare participants to fill important gaps in the workforce.

The high need for essential workers in the healthcare sector and many nursing homes/assisted living facilities is widely recognized, with many employers struggling to fill vacant positions. The EES-HS project employed a holistic approach, training both project participants as well as people managers at participating workplaces in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

The EES-HS project was funded by the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). It was led by the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick in partnership with PEI Literacy Alliance and Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council.


Participant, facilitators and employers have all benefited from these great projects. Listen to their testimonials below.
Read Patrick Curtis’s story. A true ESAF Success.
Download PDF

Results & Outcomes

Overall, the results and outcomes of the ESAF and EES-HS initiatives were extremely positive. High-level results include:
A replicable literacy and essential employability skills (EES) training model including a communication strategy, information kits and training materials in both official languages.
Increased number of individuals accessing essential skills supports.
Improved essential skills for individuals participating in the pilots.
Improved integration of essential skills into workplaces practices (e.g. recruitment, onboarding and people management) among participating organizations.
Improved essential skills for managers/supervisors (e.g. working with others, oral communication, thinking skills, etc.) contributing to their ability to be effective in their roles as managers/supervisors, capacity to retain employment, as this training is part of wraparound supports for vulnerable workers.
Improved business outcomes (e.g. satisfaction, ROI, reduced error rates, reduced accidents, increased retention, and improved productivity and customer service) among participating organizations.
A pool of skilled labour available to the fisheries and health sectors.
Improved wellness and wellbeing (e.g. health, psycho-social capital,
self-efficacy, self-confidence, resilience) among pilot participants.
Increased number of organizations with capacity to offer essential skills supports.
A standalone online learning portal in both official languages with self-paced and virtual classroom options.

Story Boards

The project was deemed a great success and was purposefully developed to be easily transferrable to other industries, such as health care.


Case Studies

The below case studies provide some great insights on the ESAF journey from an employer and facilitator point of view.
Jennifer Brake
Cooke Aquaculture
King Aquaculture
North Atlantic Aquaponics


ESAF Synopsis
Interim Evaluation Report
Final Evaluation Report
Summary of Evaluation Findings for French Cohort
Final Project Report


General Information

The below documents provide additonal insight on the EES-HS program
Best Practices
Story Board


Executive Summary
Literacy Orgs. & Governement
Executive Summary
Employers & Workplace
Final Evaluation Report
Final Project Report


To learn more about the ESAF and EES-HS projects and how it can be adapted for your needs, please contact us to get access to the Resources section.