Including participants from other conveniently located union workplaces proved to be an invaluable model for delivering programs to workplace where there are not enough potential participants to justify independent programs. However, we still need to develop strategies for delivering programs in small workplaces located in rural workplaces where there may not be enough union members to justify independent programs.
A possible strategy here is to further develop our contacts with the network of Regional Colleges, share the WEST model with these organizations, and run cooperative programs including participants from union and non-union workplaces. The class could be facilitated by a team of two cooperative Course Leaders, one from the union and one from the community. This cooperative approach proved to be extremely successful for the GSU Course Leaders with the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Program in Swift Current. Although both of the Course Leaders involved here were members of the Grain Services Union, this team approach did prove a successful one. Where this is not possible, we hope that the Regional Colleges can simply be encouraged to borrow our model and deliver programs independently. This may prove to be an effective strategy for extending the benefits of the SFL's model to non-union workers, the unemployed, reserve populations, or wherever those concerned believe it might be of benefit.
Although the successes of those workplaces involved in the Pilot Project resulted in a great demand for WEST programs throughout the province, they also brought several developmental and structural programs in program delivery to the attention of SFL.
With hindsight, we realize that a more rigorous, documented, academic evaluation of the effects of program implementation on both general awareness levels and participants' skill levels might better illustrate the importance of workplace literacy programming to both employers and to possible funding agencies. Accomplishing this exercise would, however, require surveying general awareness levels and skill levels both before and after program implementation. It is impossible to collect reliable data from workplaces where the program has already begun. The knowledge participants and other workers now possess about the WEST Programs, and the dimensions of the literacy issue in general, is bound to cloud their memory of their awareness and skill levels prior to hearing about the SFL's Program.
Our strategies and materials for promoting WEST programs in the targeted workplaces appear to have proven successful. It might be hypothesized that the negotiations with employers, the cooperative union/management/SFL workplace information meetings and the "public relations" work done prior to program commencement contributed significantly to the successes of the WEST Program. Yet, we have no evidence or data to verify this hypothesis. All thirteen Course Leaders trained were able to implement WEST Programs in their respective workplaces - a one hundred percent success rate. Only fifty to sixty percent of instructors trained by the OFL are able to implement BEST Programs in their workplaces. Our successes here might be attributed to our preparatory work or it might simply have been a statistical accident. Thirteen samples do not provide a large enough data base from which to draw any reliable conclusions. However, the successes of each of our Course Leaders are indisputable.
Over the course of the Pilot Project we made use of several strategies and different promotional materials in an attempt to address the social stigma attached to illiteracy head-on, and hopefully to reduce the shame and reticence potential participants might feel. Our strategies here appear to have been a success as we were able to attract enough workers to fill most of our classes, and to develop large waiting lists in a couple of workplaces. Unfortunately, this was not a universal phenomenon. We know that several individuals in one of our workplaces were in need of the opportunities WEST offers. These same individuals did not, however, initially feel comfortable enough to come forward and take part in the classes offered. In contrast, we do know that WEST has attracted many individuals who were, for many reasons, unwilling of unable to take part in other literacy programs.
Through the processes involved in training Course Leaders and implementing and delivering WEST programs the OFL's BEST model was substantially modified, both in content and strategy. Several new strategies for publicizing programs within workplace were attempted, with some proving less successful than others. This process could be made much easier for the SFL, and for other groups embarking on such endeavours, with the production of a manual outlining strategies for implementing workplace programs under a variety of different circumstances.