What then do literacy workers and students actually know about
current labour market situations, how do they get their information,
what employment development resources and/or curriculum are
instructors using, and what role do they feel literacy plays in
preparing people for work?
Knowledge of Labour Market and Information available:
the 10 students I interviewed, only one felt that the employment
outlook was positive:
"I've always believed that if you really want to work
then you can find a job. But its a matter of where you set your
Another student felt that even though he would have no problems
finding work himself, others in his class would face barriers:
"As far as the job market that I'm going for is
concerned, its pretty good because its a growing industry. For
others in our group-I'm talking about different women and stuff -
its harder for them because of the demand. The jobs that they are
looking for just aren't out there. The only reason (the employers)
want the work experience is they get free labour. Everybody wants
something for nothing and everybody wants to give you such a low
wage that its not even worth going out to look for work. Benefits
for most of those companies are poor. Job security is hard to find."
Most of the students and instructors voiced concern about the lack
of employment opportunities and about the proliferation of minimum
Student A: "I could have sworn when I was 18 that
there was about 4 pages of the general (classified ads) and now its
like 2 lines. And a lot of them they ask for experience and then you
look at the wages and they're only willing to give you minimum wage."
Student B: "Minimum wage is still better
than we've got now (on social assistance)"
A: "I think maybe for a single person it would be fine, but
for a family its not."
Instructor: "We have university graduates in our
town who cannot get work. My students aren't going to get a job
ahead of them. It's just not going to happen."
Instructor: "I have skilled people coming to my
literacy class taking computers because they don't have a job. The
possibility of them getting a job is so slim because there's so much
competition out there."
Instructor: "Well, one of my students said a
couple of months ago...that he got fed up of going down to the
employment office and seeing on the board jobs that he had done a
year ago and now the requirement is you have to have your grade 12.
But he has already done them for years but nowthere is no
point in him applying because now they require grade 12."