The project targeted rural coastal communities facing labour shortages and unemployed or underemployed individuals.
These factors are hindering the Atlantic seafood industry’s ability to meet client demand and stay competitive in a global world.
The project took a pan-Atlantic Canadian approach in both official languages where the lessons learned would provide important knowledge for future expansion into other industries.
The holistic approach to training focused not only on participants, but on supervisors and middle managers, as well. This two-pronged approach sought to develop skills which would maximize the chances of long-term success for the unemployed and under-employed individuals taking part in the program while also providing valuable supervisory tools and strategies to assist in this success.
Delivering the program through a blended learning approach combining classroom, online and on-the-job training, which we called blended learning, proved be very effective to better prepare the participants for the workplace.
1. Planning and development
- Conducted an environmental scan to document the literacy and essential skills training and service activities that have been held and/or are still operating across Canada and described the types of literacy and essential skills training and services offered in terms of target participants and industries, content, and delivery modality.
- Established the Steering Committee and Atlantic Advisory Group.
- Developed an orientation and training package for project staff.
- Hired and trained project staff.
- Developed a detailed communication plan to facilitate awareness raising and introduction of the project to key stakeholder groups. This included an information package for employers.
- Designed the LES Training Model. The model included a blended learning approach incorporating classroom, online and on-site training.
- Developed an evaluation framework to measure meaningful outcomes and the effectiveness of the project in meeting the project objectives. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected throughout the project.
- Developed the tools and measures necessary to implement the evaluation framework and ensure that evaluation activities are effective and timely.
- Developed a train-the-trainer package for supervisors/managers identified as Workplace Essential Skills Mentors.
- Finalized the development of the LES Training Model by revising and validating it based on stakeholder feedback.
- Created an online learning platform.
2. Project implementation
- Established a Community Advisory Group (CAG) in each pilot area.
- Recruited employers in the fisheries sector that have vacancies for entry level positions.
- Conducted workplace needs assessments with participating employers and identified the occupations project participants would enter.
- Identified the Workplace Essential Skills tasks required for these occupations. Examined existing Essential Skills
- Profiles and if profiles were not available, customized/created profiles.
- Customized pre- and post-assessment tools to ensure that they measured the specific skills required for entry-level positions within the fishing industry.
- Identified supervisors/managers as Workplace Essential Skills Mentors (12 per province).
- Used the train-the-trainer package to train supervisors/managers as Workplace Essential Skills Mentors.
- Recruited participants through the Community Advisory Groups and other sources.
- Undertook pre-intervention assessment of the LES skill levels of all potential participants. (Postintervention assessments were conducted after training was completed.)
- Recruited and trained facilitators.
- Piloted the LES Training Model with the first cohort of 12 participants in each of the four Atlantic provinces. The model included classroom and online LES training delivered over a six-week period, followed by up to four weeks of on-site job specific training and a 6-to-12-week work placement.
- Produced an interim evaluation report.
- Revised the LES Training Model and incorporated changes as per lessons learned and best practices from Cohort 1.
- Piloted the LES Training Model with the second cohort of 12 participants in each of the four Atlantic provinces.
3. Project end
- Collated, analyzed and interpreted data, outlining the results, the lessons learned from the perspective of each stakeholder group, and recommendations for replication and plans for sustainability.
- Produced a final evaluation report
- Produced a final project report
- Implemented dissemination strategy.
Each of these pilot sites was managed by existing literacy organizations which hired their own project coordinators and facilitators to implement the project and deliver the training directly with the participating employers. Each province was also supported by local Community Advisory Groups (CAG). The CAG was very instrumental in the success of the project by bringing together local government agencies and community organizations to identify appropriate pilot participants and identify available community resources to support job seekers in overcoming barriers to employment.
Finally, the employers who took part in the ESAF project were responsible for identifying entry-level job vacancies and participating in the workplace needs assessment. They were also required to provide access to train their supervisors/managers and offer 6-to-12-week paid work placements.