During the administration of the questionnaire it became clear that many program participants had little or no knowledge and understanding of the various company committees such as the Employee Council, and the Continuous Improvement Team. Upon explanation of the committees, the program participants thought it would be beneficial for them to participate in these learning experiences. They simply had no idea that these opportunities were open to them. After further discussion, they also expressed interest in the idea of learning basic computer skills and assisting in producing company documents such as an employee newsletter. Many of them had purchased a home computer, but few knew how to use it. The opportunity to learn new skills in a non-classroom setting was an empowering suggestion.
What were those outside of the training program saying?
In analyzing the interview data from company personnel, both individuals expressed that a complete break with a learning environment would not be beneficial yet enhanced employee participation in company life was strongly desired in order to foster a greater sense of employee ownership. The President of Irwin had reviewed the initial needs assessment conducted in 1996 and found that the original goals set by the organization had indeed been met and in many cases surpassed. We then realized that recommendations had already been made some years ago with regards to the types of activities the organization could engage in as a result of running a workplace education program. In fact, I had recommended a company newsletter as one example of a tool that could be implemented to allow graduates of the program to utilize their writing skills and at the same time to provide all employees with work-related reading material. This important review of the initial needs assessment sparked a critical brainstorming session that generated a list of exciting initiatives that could be undertaken by Irwin Seating Toronto to foster continued use of acquired skills:
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