Nunavut and NWT stakeholders with direct experience with workplace and workforce literacy spoke of it highly. Most programs have ended. People described classes such as Inuktitut as a second language, on/or off-site general training in reading and understanding documents, and training to understand documents specific to the workplace such as safety manuals or human resources policies.
A small number of workplace literacy programs still exist, including the City of Iqaluit’s program where workers have special classes and tutoring at Nunavut Arctic College campus. Less official programs are more common: employers provide training during working hours to help workers read and understand documents – often a necessity so workers can read and follow instructions, policies or client requests.
BHP Billiton and Diavik Mines each developed and implemented their own successful workplace literacy programs. BHP has a workplace learning program in-house and on-site. Diavik has two initiatives: community-based training to upgrade skills of local people and skills upgrading programs for the workers. Diavik noted that people that started with the community-based training initiative generally have done better in the workplace: fit in better and work well with co-workers.
The main factors for effective workplace and workforce literacy, based on BHP and Diavik experiences:
Challenges and gaps include having to develop assessment tools for workers with low literacy skills as-needed and limited opportunities for people in small, isolated communities and for non-classroom workforce programs.