Moving the marker on Essential Skills

While the CSC’s earlier Essential Skills projects involved the development of customized resources for industry, workers, educators and training providers, two questions remained: Where do we go from here to ensure the construction industry has the Essential Skills required to benefit from training and perform on the job, and how can we build the industry’s capacity to respond to Essential Skills needs?

To address these questions, the CSC’s latest project, Sustainable Essential Skills for the Construction Industry, aims to create ongoing capacity by helping industry instructors to integrate Essential Skills upgrading into their technical training. To do this the CSC is partnering with B.C.’s SkillPlan, bringing their expertise in developing Essential Skills training materials to the construction industry nationwide.

The current project seeks to equip instructors with the skills they require to provide effective Essential Skills training through the use, and in some cases, development of Essential Skills materials. The Essential Skills are Reading, Writing, Document Use, Numeracy, Computer Use, Thinking, Oral Communication, Working with Others and Continuous Learning.

This approach consists of the following central features:

  • training trades instructors to integrate Essential Skills into technical training
  • certifying instructors in Essential Skills upgrading
  • sharing Essential Skills learning materials and approaches
  • supporting the industry in its efforts to improve Essential Skills using an online professional collaboration platform
  • making Essential Skills materials readily available to industry, trainers and educators
  • expanding the field of Essential Skills through collaborative efforts
  • creating Essential Skills instructor resources
  • developing a virtual support centre, including:
    • an online help desk to support instructors
    • online resource links
    • resources and assistance for technical instructors
    • online instructor training
    • supplementary resources (e.g., Numeracy worksheets) for instructors to download (as models or to use as is)
    • a place for instructors to share instructional materials

This approach moves from just producing materials to enabling trainers and educators to prepare materials. The goal is to create an Essential Skills community that can share resources and expertise, and ultimately move the Essential Skills field forward for the construction industry. And the timing is right as the industry prepares to meet the training challenges that will result from the aging workforce and the loss of skilled workers to retirements.

The CSC has a number of Essential Skills products currently available. To order or download these materials, visit

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