Author Archives: Carrie Wakeford

Benefits of Adult Training Programs

Partner Feedback

In June 2022 we asked our community partners in the Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) region to tell us what they have observed when they refer clients to adult training programs in Haliburton, City of Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Northumberland and Hastings. The following captures a summary of the benefits they shared in these discussions.

Thank you to our community partners for participating in this discussion and for the fantastic feedback. It really was great hearing how our programs are valuable to you and your clients.

Confidence

Our partners said that the #1 benefit to adult training programs is the confidence their clients gained when they experience success. By reaching their goals, learners gained the confidence to move on to other learning opportunities such as post-secondary programs. For others, this increased confidence translated to success in job interviews and led to success on the job.

Someone said that adult training programs are “in the confidence-building business”.

Our partners shared some examples, including the learner who achieved their Grade 12 diploma when they didn’t think they could. Another learner was accepted into a college program when they never thought it was possible. One partner said their client discovered that they were not too old to learn. Others have heard their clients say they learned that they were capable of doing more than they thought.

Adult Training

People taking notesOur partners pointed out that our programs are designed for adults and are led by instructors who recognize that adults bring existing skills and experiences to their training.

We heard that there is value in our system of developing customized learning plans. Training is designed around the goals of each person; this means learners can focus on what they need to learn, and they don’t spend time covering material they already know. This is a real benefit for people anxious to move on to a job or further education.

It was also pointed out that our programs are flexible, which is important since many adult learners are also working, and many learners are women with children.

Learners in our programs:

  • Learn alongside other adults
  • Develop a customized learning plan
  • Set their own goals
  • Work on things they need to work on to reach their goal
  • Set their own schedule to fit work and family life commitments

Hard Skills/Technical Skills

Reading on a tabletWe heard that the hard skills, or technical skills, that people gain are another benefit to our adult training programs. Learners can refresh their skills or learn new skills. Our partners found that these hard skills increased job options for their clients. As well, many of the hard skills learned prepared their clients for success in post-secondary programs and apprenticeships.

Some skill examples below:

  • Using a computer, phone and/or tablet
  • Budgeting
  • Preparing for a driver’s license test
  • Reading a tape measure
  • Operating a Point-of-Sale machine
  • Money math
  • Math for the skilled trades
  • Reading, writing and communication

Soft Skills/Transferable Skills

It was recognized that learners also develop transferable skills/soft skills. These skills help people with job retention. One person said they referred a client because they needed computer skills but, through the computer course, they also gained many soft skills. Another person developed conflict management skills, something that had been a barrier to their ability to retain jobs in the past.

Some skill examples below:

  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Working in a group
  • Working independently
  • Resilience
  • Curiosity
  • Goal setting
  • Perseverance

Relationships and Community

Our partners also noticed that learners make connections with other people in our training programs. Connections are also developed with instructors. Learners develop community and often develop friendships with other participants. Many see the program as a touchpoint and often want to return to celebrate other accomplishments, e.g., acceptance in a program or finding a job. Our partners also told us that they are confident that their clients will be referred to other community services if there is a need.

Support and Transitions

adult reading to childFinally, our partners pointed out that when people are in transition, adult training programs are a good option. Many clients are referred for assistance as they prepare to return to the workplace or to a post-secondary program after some time away. Adult training programs help people with these transitions. This means our adult training programs often become a steppingstone to other successes.

Some transition examples:

  • Parents returning to the workplace
  • Those returning to work after an injury
  • Those leaving jail
  • People feeling stuck in a situation and needing support to move forward
  • People needing a refresher before returning to school, including study skills and learning strategies

Thank You

Thank you again to our partners for sharing their experiences and observations!

If you would like to make a referral or you are interested in attending one of our programs you can also contact any of our adult training programs directly.  


 

Features of Adult Training Programs

Adult training programs focus on helping individuals reach the goals they have for work, learning and life. The following list outlines the ways adult training programs are unique.

Support

  • Training is free
  • Funding for childcare, transportation and technology may be available
  • Successes are recognized and accomplishments are celebrated

Training Designed for Adults

  • Woman working at a computerPrograms are supportive, adult-focused and flexible
  • Instructors understand the learning needs of adults
  • Training is customized to the needs and goals of each person
  • Each person completes an assessment so they know their current strengths and needs
    • People only study things they need to learn for their goal – there is no need to study what they already know
  • Each person develops their own learning plan
  • Learning is activity-based or task-based so people learn the things they will need to know at work, in class and in their lives
    • For example, many of the documents we use have been provided to us directly by employers

Goal Paths

People select from five goal path options including goals of Secondary, Post-Secondary, Work, Apprenticeship or Independence.

  • Goals are set and then measured along the way

man working at computerLearning Space

  • We offer a quiet, inclusive, safe and welcoming place to learn
  • People have a safe place to try new things
  • We offer training online, in groups and one-to-one, including tutors
  • Learning includes individualized support 

Community

  • Our programs support the goals of our partners and funders
  • We work with our partners and respect any action plan developed
  • We communicate with partners and work together to support learners
  • We make referrals to our community partners, as needed

Learn More

Please contact Carrie Wakeford if you would like to learn more. You can also contact any of the adult training programs directly.


 

The Third Apprenticeship Connection Newsletter

Issue #3 of The Apprenticeship Connection newsletter has been published.

This newsletter includes great articles about the highest paying trades in Canada, information about apprenticeships and newcomers, information about Canadian Armed Forces veterans applying their skills in construction and information about Skilled Trades Ontario and their new website.  This newsletter also shared the LOCS blog post “Math and the Skilled Trades“.  Finally you will find information about Perfectio a magazine by the Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA).  

Every issue of The Apprenticeship Connection ends with a great list of resource links.

If you would like access to past issues you can find them at:

Issue #1: The Apprenticeship Connection post.
Issue #2: The Second Apprenticeship Connection post.

You are welcome to share this newsletter with anyone who may be interested.  

If you would like more information about how adult training programs in Ontario supports the skilled trades, contact Carrie at or call (705) 313-4385.


 

Computer Skills for Post Secondary Prep

Core Skills

computer with book shelvesFor anyone entering a post-secondary program, including the skilled trades, it is important to have some core computer skills before starting. 

Gaining computer skills before entering a diploma, certificate or apprenticeship program will mean all in-class time can be focused on learning the content of the program. Trying to learn computer skills at the same time as completing course work can be overwhelming. It can become a barrier to success. Adult training programs can help to remove this barrier.

The computer skills listed below can be used as a checklist. Depending on the program, it may not be necessary to have all of these skills, but these are the most common. Post-secondary programs often provide a list of the computer skills needed. Adult training programs will customize training based on the goals of each individual. 

Contact one of the adult training programs to learn about eligibility and the options for gaining the computer skills needed for success in post-secondary programs. 

Checklist Below:

Hardware 

Hardware you will want to be familiar with:

  • Computer (desktop or laptop)
  • Keyboard and Mouse
  • Printer
  • Modem
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets

Operating Systems

Woman sitting next to a brick wall with a laptopThis is the software that runs your computer – we will focus on the Windows operating system because it is the most common.

  • Turn a computer on
    • This may require you to log on with a password
  • Move around Windows
    • Use the start button to access settings and apps
    • Use the taskbar
    • Open the Recycle Bin
    • Find programs
    • Find and use desktop icons – including shortcuts to programs
    • Run more than one program
    • Close programs
    • Log off
  • Work Safely
    • Download and use virus and malware programs
    • Maintain privacy
    • Understand risks online

File Management

  • Create, move, rename and delete folders and files
  • Understand file extensions, e.g., .pdf (Portable Document Format), .xls (Excel file) and .docx (Word File)
  • Use USB flash drives
  • Use cloud storage – understand the cloud
  • Find documents on a computer
  • Upload a document
  • Scan a document
  • Save a document as a PDF

Software/Apps

Word Processing

  • Create and save documents using software such as Microsoft (MS) Word or Google Docs
  • Name and file documents
  • Enter content (typing)
  • Use basic formatting, e.g., bold, underline, capitalization, changing font and font size, cut and paste content and adjusting spacing
  • Use spell check
  • Print files, including previewing and adjusting settings
  • Save and close files
  • Find and open files and make changes to the content and resave

Spreadsheets

  • Create and save spreadsheets using software such as Microsoft (MS) Excel or Google Sheets
  • Enter content into a worksheet
  • Enter basic formulas
  • Format cells
  • Name worksheets
  • Print worksheets, including previewing and adjusting settings
  • Save and close files
  • Find and open files and make changes to the content and resave

Email

  • Create an email account
  • Use email software e.g., Gmail or Outlook to send and receive email
  • Forward email, e.g., to your phone
  • Type and send messages
  • Manage your email, e.g., respond, forward, save, file and delete email
  • Use calendars
  • Manage safety, e.g., identify email scams
  • Attach a document, file or picture

Internet

  • Access the Internet using an Internet Browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Edge
  • Search for a website using Google Search and/or Bing
  • Bookmark a site
  • Know how to assess content – is it Canadian?, is it legitimate?
  • Open more than one tab
  • Copy and paste content
  • Understand URLs
  • Refresh a page
  • Manage safety and security
  • Access social media, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

PowerPoint

Note: you will only need these skills if you are required to make presentations.

  • Create and edit slide presentations
  • Select a theme (the look of the presentation)
  • Add content and images

Online Learning

  • Log into a Learning Management System such as D2L
  • Find and download files
  • Upload assignments
  • Communicate with instructors and other students
  • Participate in real time webinars and meetings using programs such as Zoom
  • person holding tabletComplete online assignments
  • Complete online quizzes
  • Post comments

Phones and Tablets

  • Send a text
  • Download and install apps
  • Access email
  • Search the Internet

On the Job

To learn more about the computer skills needed for the trades, visit the post Computers and the Skilled Trades and Digital Skills in the Skilled Trades.

It is also important to note that in a 2022 survey of employers many said that employees and new hires require digital training. The skills employers are looking for include:

51% said Software/Apps (e.g., Word, Excel, Calendars, Accounting, GPS, Google Docs/Forms).

40% said File Management, Sharing and Collaborating (e.g., Folders, Files, Attachments, Permissions, Dropbox).

30% said Hardware (e.g., Computer/Keyboard, Phone, Scanners, Point-of-Sale).

For the full list of digital literacy needs identified by employers visit page 14 of the 2022 EmployerOne Survey.


To Learn More

For more information about how you can gain these skills for work or ongoing education or training, contact one of the adult training programs in your area or contact Carrie at LOCS – or 705 313-4385.


 

Apprenticeship and the Skilled Trades

Through the Lens of Literacy and Basic Skills

To address the developing skilled trades crisis, a crisis that has been created by “pending retirements, a current shortage of certified tradespeople and low Apprenticeship completion rates”, communities will need to work together to support those interested in a career in the skilled trades.  This means creating a support system that provides individuals with every opportunity to be successful.  

This report highlights the key role Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) plays in supporting individuals, as well as the role LBS has in the larger apprenticeship network.  LBS works with community partners, including trainers and employers, to support all parts of the apprenticeship system.  

Supporting Individuals

It is important that communities support people entering the skilled trades from high school and through immigration.  It is also important that we have supports in place for individuals who:

  • have been out of school a while and are reentering the workforce
  • are currently working in other positions, but would like to enter the trades
  • are working in a skilled trade, but are at risk of leaving 
  • have left the trades, but would consider returning
  • are not considering the trades because of barriers (this includes access for underrepresented groups)

As this report highlights, LBS programs play a critical role in supporting the success of individuals in each of these situations.  

This group makes up a significant pool of workers who have the potential to help communities address the skilled trades crisis.  For many, success in the skilled trades will start with support offered by LBS programs. 

LBS Supports

This report outlines the LBS support available, which includes “foundational and advanced math, interpersonal and soft skills, writing, communication, and digital skills”.  Adult training programs also prepare learners for the in-class portion of their Apprenticeship, as well as developing study and test taking skills, which includes preparing to write their Certificate of Qualification (C of Q).  LBS can also help individuals obtain the academic requirements they need to enter the trade they are pursuing (e.g., Grade 12 and ACE).  Literacy and Basic Skills programs support learners “as they work towards achieving the levels of education needed by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, employers, and unions.”

This report also highlights something “Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) practitioners have long recognized that having a high school diploma or equivalent doesn’t necessarily mean that your skills are at a Grade 12 level – and that not having a high school diploma doesn’t mean you are unskilled.”  

LBS can meet the needs of adult learners by offering short-term, targeted programs customized to the needs of their career goal.  LBS programs are flexible, self-paced and teacher supported.  One-to-one tutoring is also available.  Programs are also offered through partnerships with employers and pre-apprenticeship programs.

This research also identified some of the non-academic barriers people face.  Support for this group may include learning about the options in the trades so they can make a decision, finding the resources to help access the apprenticeship system and funding options, as well as developing the skills to manage stress, work, school and life responsibilities.  LBS has a reputation for being able to access their network of community partners, including Employment Services, to find support for learners.  

Going Forward

LBS will continue supporting individual apprentices and highlighting our role as a key partner in strengthening a community wide response to building a path to apprenticeship that is well supported and seamless.


This report was released March 2022.  It was researched and written by Community Literacy Ontario in partnership with Laubach Literacy Ontario (LLO), The Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA) and the College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading (CSC).  Full Report: Apprenticeship and the Skilled Trades 


 

Labour Market Information – Skilled Trades

man with orange vest looking at building siteLiteracy Ontario Central South (LOCS) is lucky to have two planning boards in our region, the Centre for Workforce Development (CFWD) and the Workforce Development Board (WDB).

Both organizations can provide you with current, local Labour Market Information (LMI), including hiring demands, skill requirements and/or wages for any career you are considering, including a skilled trade.

For example, if you are thinking about entering a skilled trade, you can contact them to find out what the job demand is for that specific trade in your region.

LMI Help Desks:   

  • If you are interested in working in City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Northumberland or Peterborough, contact the LMI Help Desk at the WDB to ask for information about the labour market. 
  • If you are interested in working in Hastings, contact the LMI Help Desk at the CFWD to ask for information about the labour market.

In-Demand Trades

Over the years the planning boards in our area have tracked and documented in-demand trades.  This list has included Automotive, Electrician, Truck and Coach Technician, Hairstylist and Plumber.  We have also seen a demand for Truck Drivers, Early Childhood Educators (ECE), Cooks, Bakers, Carpenters, Heavy Equipment Operators, Automotive Service Technicians, Electricians, Millwrights, Heavy Equipment Mechanics, and Construction Trades Helpers, Labourers.

If any of these trades interest you, contact the LMI Help Desk at either the CFWD (Hastings) or the WDB (City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Northumberland and Peterborough) to ask them for the most up-to-date Labour Market information. 

Edge Factor Videos

You can also learn about careers by watching Edge Factor videos developed in partnership with the planning boards:

This is a direct link to the manufacturing, construction, tourism, healthcare and agriculture videos made in our region: Local Virtual Workplace Experience Videos.  

Other Career Options

The CFWD and the WDB are not limited to answering questions about skilled trades.  They can answer your labour market questions about any job.  

You can also visit their websites for information:

The Centre for Workforce Development (CFWD)

The Workforce Development Board (WDB)

You can also contact your local employment services office for help making a career decision.


 

Skills Ontario App

Thinking about entering a skilled trade? 

young woman in red shirt with cell phoneThe new Skills Ontario App is a good place to start. 

It is free, easy to download and easy to use.  It includes a Popular Careers section where you get examples of jobs such as Web Designer, Chef, Baker, Computer Aided Drafting and 3D Digital Game Artist.  You will also find links to events and links to other services.  

Download the App from the Skills Ontario site.

The Quiz

This app includes a quiz.  When you finish answering the questions in this short quiz, you will get a list of careers in the trades that are the best match for you, based on your answers. 

You are also provided with information about the pay range as well as a brief job description, job responsibilities, information about where people in this trade work and the education required to work in these trades.

This quiz is a great starting point for anyone thinking about a career in the trades.

Next Step

Young man with cell phoneYour next step may be doing a skills assessment or further career research.

Our adult training programs can help by offering you an in-depth assessment. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the skills you have that you will bring to a skilled trade.

There may also be skills you want to develop further before starting your training or registering as an apprentice.  For example, you can contact us if you would like to learn about how to use technology such as apps.  To learn more about the computer training that will help you prepare to work in the trades, visit our ‘Computers and the Skilled Trades‘ post. 

You may also want to take the results of your Skills Ontario quiz to your local employment services office where you can also discuss and explore your options further.

What is Skills Ontario?

Skills Ontario is an organization that has been promoting skilled trades and technologies in Ontario for over 30 years.

Their mission is “to champion and stimulate the development of world-class technological and employability skills in Ontario youth.”  They are “building Ontario’s skilled trades and technologies workforce.”  They want to “enable and empower all youth, including women and Indigenous youth, to consider a career in the skilled trades and technologies.”  Learn more at the Skills Ontario website.

Note: Although the focus is Ontario Youth (up to age 29), anyone can use this app and the information and resources on their website.

If you would like more information about next steps, contact an adult training program in your area.  You can also reach out to Carrie with your questions: .


 

Computers and the Skilled Trades

hands holding a tabletThere isn’t a job that hasn’t been touched in some way by digital technology, and this includes the skilled trades. The type and level of computer skills needed will vary depending on the trade, however, it is safe to say at the very least, basic computer skills are necessary.

The Ontario Government offers a way to search job profiles.  Enter a job you are interested in and open the profile.  These profiles are full of great information. 

If you select the heading “In Demand Skills and Knowledge” you will find a list of skills needed for success in the job.  It is common to find Computer Literacy listed in the ‘Foundational’ column for most jobs.  You will also find a basic list of the software commonly used on the job.  Below is an example of the skills section of the profile for Welders and Related Machine Operators

List of skills for welding

Skills needed by Welders and Related Machine Operators

Training Programs

Adult training programs prepare people for success at work and in any ongoing education or training programs they take.  This training includes computer training for people who are already registered as an apprentice or those thinking about starting an apprenticeship. 

Computers and Software

Adult training programs can help you develop the computer skills you need for success in a college program.  If you search for college level programs online, you will find computer and software skills are often listed. For example:

  • the Heavy Equipment Operator at Fleming lists Computer Skills as being important for students in this program.  They also list the technology required: “Students are required to have their own computer, Internet access, webcam and microphone.”  It is safe to assume that this hardware is needed to attend online classes.
  • the Welding program at Loyalist has Computer Applications as a first semester course.  The computer applications course includes “Outlook (email), PowerPoint, Word and Excel.” 

Online Learning

Online learning is becoming increasingly common in the trades.  For example, at least part of most college courses are offered online.  Adult training programs can help you prepare for success in taking computer-based training.  This may include:

  • using PDFs, videos and online documents
  • keyboarding, creating online accounts, logging in and moving around a course, uploading assignments, posting comments, asking questions and completing online tests and quizzes.
  • using video conferencing software to attend class.  

Communication

At work and in class you will likely be required to use technology to communicate with others. Our programs can help you develop these online communication skills.  This includes:

  • using smartphones, tablets and computers to send emails and texts to instructors, other students, co-workers, supervisors, customers and suppliers.  

Research

At work and in class you will need to be able to use the Internet and Search Engines to research information and resources.  In our programs you will have the opportunity to develop your online research skills.  This includes:

  • finding things such as how-to documentation, videos, manuals and information about products and services using websites, blogs, discussion forums and social media.

Apps

Our programs can also provide you with support as you develop your skills downloading and using applications (apps).  Apps are common in the trades.  Some apps are designed specifically for a trade or a company.  Other apps are general and can be used by people in any trade.  This may include using apps for:

  • mapping, for calculating, converting and measuring, for estimating, for logging/tracking hours, for ordering, managing projects, managing documents and taking notes, as well as for tool tracking and planning.

Speaking of apps: Visit our blog post about the Skills Ontario App that will help you learn about careers in the trades.

Virtual Reality

It is helpful to have experience using Virtual Reality since many trades are now using Virtual Reality Simulations, as well as Augmented Reality to provide training.  Many employment service organizations have a Virtual Reality option available to anyone interested in a career in the trades.  Virtual Reality is a great way to experience a trade before making a career decision.  To see some Virtual Reality Simulation options for the trades, visit CareerLabsVR.  To learn more about how you can book a Virtual Reality experience, contact an employment services office in your area.  

Computers in the Trades – Some Examples

In addition to software, online communication, research, apps and online learning, there are other computer skills needed in the trades.  We have provided a few examples below.  

The list below represent some of the in-demand careers in the trades in the LOCS area.  We have used labour market information from the Centre for Workforce Development and the Workforce Development Board. For a detailed list of in demand trades, visit our Labour Market Information post.

Beside each occupation there is a number.  You can click on this number to learn more about the career at the National Occupational Classification site. 

  • “The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing occupations.  You can search the NOC to find where an occupation is classified or to learn about its main duties, educational requirements”. 
  • The NOC is currently moving from a four to a five-digit code.  You may find the four-digit code still used in some places. 

Bakers (63202)
Calculators, Point-Of-Sale systems, spreadsheets (for planning and ordering).  There is also software to help with ingredient calculations and for managing costs.

Carpenters (72310)
Calculators, word processing, spreadsheets, billing and accounting software, estimating software and computer-controlled layout equipment (measuring tools).

Cooks (63200)
Calculators, spreadsheets, word processing, database, digitally controlled kitchen equipment, Enterprise Digital Assistant and restaurant management software.

Heavy Equipment Operators (73400)
Calculators, GPS, electronic scales, word processing, spreadsheets, database and laser grade control systems, displays and systems-monitoring controls.

Industrial Electricians (72201)
Spreadsheets, database, graphics software, project management software, handheld electrical equipment for electrical readings.  They also install and service ethernet and process control systems.

Plumbers (72300)
Calculators, word processing, database, spreadsheets, accounting software, CAD – Computer Aided Design, online plumbing software and project management software.

Transport Truck Drivers (73300)
Calculators, GPS, database, fleet tracking/management software and handheld electronic logbooks.

Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic (72401)
Calculators, database, diagnostic equipment and handheld devices.

Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers (75110)
Calculators, database, digital multimeters and topographical information.

Electronic Service Technicians (22311)
Calculators, word processing, spreadsheets, database, load and configure software, programs for simulation purposes, diagnostic tools – oscilloscopes, application specific measurement and diagnostic software and apps to run diagnostic tests.

Hairstylists and Barbers (63210)
Calculators, Point-of-Sale systems, digital cameras, database, salon management software, accounting software and industry apps.


If you would like more information about how you can develop the computer skills you will need for success in an apprenticeship, contact an adult training centre in your area or reach out to Carrie Wakeford or at (705) 313-4383.

The Second Apprenticeship Connection

The Apprenticeship Connection green logo

Black and white image of work bootsIssue #2 of The Apprenticeship Connection newsletter is now available. 

This newsletter includes information about apprenticeship in Ontario.  It explores how Ontario’s adult training and skills development organizations support individual apprentices and the broader skilled trades community.  This issue focuses on apprenticeship training, including stories of successful partnerships.

Feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested.  

Issue #1 is available in The Apprenticeship Connection post.

If you would like more information about how Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) services play a critical role in the apprenticeship system, contact Carrie at or call (705) 313-4385.