The Workplace/Workforce Literacy Symposium Report
- Government involvement is critical to moving forward. The point of a
partnership is not just to talk but to push the provincial government to act.
- Labour needs to work with literacy groups to help them understand workplace
issues from a labour perspective. As well, some unions have not responded well
to advances from literacy networks. We need to connect labour with local
communities, for example by attending to the annual general meetings of local
literacy groups. We can also look at blending program models, for example, co-
facilitation with peers and literacy workers. The public system needs to be pushed
to respond to workers’ needs.
- Regional challenges to finding ways to respond to workers’ needs were discussed.
Some unions have developed tools that raise awareness of the issue. Labour
councils can play a role at the regional level.
- Government funding is critical; we need to move towards a re-invigorated system.
A stakeholder partnership is vital.
- Collaboration on the issue of workplace literacy is needed. Parties must be clear
about their role. There is much common ground, for example, development of
the whole person, transportable skills, etc. A working group is needed to continue
the dialogue and to move forward with the same message, which will be more
powerful if it comes from multiple groups. Literacy networks are in a good
position to help. The four literacy streams need to be brought together.
- There is also a need for funding and professional development since workplace
delivery is very different from other types of programs. We need to figure out
what financial incentives will work. Not all literacy groups feel comfortable
working in this area. At the moment, workplace literacy training does not count
“contact hours,” so there is no incentive to do it. Some literacy groups feel
that they are not equal partners with business and labour unless they are involved
from the beginning. Different approaches need to be looked at such as peer
tutoring and the apprenticeship/journeyperson model.
- Challenges include the lack of a template or model for proceeding and lack of
funding and infrastructure. The regional nature of the province will be challenging
as will be dealing with small and medium size business. But we can capitalize on
this by replicating the symposium within the regions.