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Acknowledgements Partners for this project include: Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford Local Training Board Goodwill Ontario Great Lakes Literacy London Inc. London Employment Help Centre Pathways Skill Development & Placement Centre Thank you to the following organizations for distributing the employer survey: Strathroy and District Chamber of Commerce London Chamber of Commerce Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce Ingersoll District Chamber of Commerce Woodstock District Chamber of Commerce St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce The London Economic Development Corporation The Human Resources Professionals Association of London & Distinct

This is a Literacy Link South Central project. Literacy Link South Central 213 Consortium Court London, Ontario N6E 2S8

519.681.7307 www.llsc.on.ca literacylink@bellnet.ca

This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

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Introduction by Debra Mountenay, Executive Director Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford Local Training Board

As an employer, I know that there are skills that all of my employees must have in order to do their work. In fact, all employees need a certain set of skills to be effective and efficient in their workplace. These skills are called Essential Skills. Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine Essential Skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life, in different ways and at different levels of complexity.

Essential Skills Reading Text

Working with Others

Document Use

Continuous Learning

Numeracy

Thinking Skills

Writing

Computer Use

Oral Communication As employers, we also all know that the level of skill required in each of these areas varies from industry to industry and, in many cases, from business to business– but what are the skill priorities today? We did some market research to find out, and asked 60 local employers from the counties of Elgin, Middlesex, and Oxford in Southern Ontario to identify where they see the priorities for the future workforce. An electronic survey was developed to explore •

skill levels currently used in workplaces

tools used to assess prospective employees against Essential Skills

future skill requirements employees will need to adapt to innovations and processes

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Introduction (cont.) Employers – all sectors and all sizes – answered. What we found is that employers unknowingly rate Essential Skills as the skills they require for a successful workforce, yet they may not be using the tools that are available to them to assess whether employees have these Essential Skills. Résumés often talk about education and experience, but they don’t tell an employer how well the applicant works with others, thinks through a problem, or uses documents. To ensure the sustainability of small, medium and large businesses in all business sectors, companies require employees with well-developed Essential Skills. This helps them to cope with increasing job complexity and changing technology. Essential Skills for Employment: What Résumés Won’t Tell You provides an overview of how other employers determine whether potential hires have the skills they need in their workplace. In this report you will also find how to determine the Essential Skills needed for your workplace and how they can play a role in your hiring process. What about you? Do you agree with the answers we received? Do you know what role Essential Skills play in your workplace? Do you hire employees based on these nine Essential Skills?

We welcome your input. Send your comments to literacylink@bellnet.ca

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Who responded to this survey? Sixty (60) organizations from the counties of Elgin, Middlesex, and Oxford in Southwestern Ontario responded to the survey.

Industry Sector Employers who responded to this survey were from the following industry sectors:

Manufacturing

20.9%

Sales&Distribution

9.3%

20.9%(9)

23.3%(10)

TemporaryHelpAgencies 9.3%(4)

9.3%(4)

HealthCare

4.7%

Service

20.9%

4.7%

4.7%(2) 4.7%(2)

Legal

2.3%

11.6%(5) Construction&Landscape

4.7%

2.3%(1) 4.7%(2) 4.7%(2)

20.9%(9) 7.0%(3)

PublicService Financial

4.7%(2) 2.3%(1)

7.0%

4.7%

CommunicationͲ Radio,Print, TV 2.3% Transportation Consulting

11.6%

NotͲForͲProfit Other

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23.3%

9.3%

4.7%


Number of Employees

The following reflects the number of employees in the workplace of those who responded to the survey.

18.6%(8) 25.6%(11)

4.7%(2)

7%(3)

18.6%(8)

23.3%(10)

1-30

25.6%

31- 70

18.6%

71-100

2.3%

101-250

23.3%

251-500

7.0%

500-750

4.7%

more than 750

2.3%(1)

18.6%

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What did they say? Question: Do your employees have the basic skills required for your company to be competitive during the next 3 years?

2

Readingtext:readingsentencesorparagraphs

17 12

Documentuse:graphs,lists,drawing,signs

10

Numeracy:usingnumbersinquantitativeterms

1

Continuouslearning:Ongoingprocessofaquiring skillsandknowledge

0

5

38

10

39

17

Yes NA

31 22

9

Minimal Acceptable

16

9

Computeruse:varietyandcomplexity

35

16

9

Thinkingskills:problemsolving,decisionmaking, planningandorganizing

34 No

3

Workingwithothers:tocompletetasks

29

16

4

Oralcommunication:exchangeinformation

17

13

7

Writing:text,fillinginforms,typing

39

27

24 25 15

20

25

30

35

40

People who show strong skills in reading, working with others and oral communication should be well-positioned within corporations. comment by project partners Essential Skills can help you benchmark consistent job requirements and establish succession planning to meet your organization’s current and future needs. Essential Skills: The foundation of workplace safety and productivity April 2008

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What did they say? Question: When hiring new employees, or selecting current employees for other positions, do you have any methods to assess the person’s strengths and/or weaknesses in the following 9 skills?

Readingtext

35

20

Documentuse

28 27

Numeracy

27 28

Writing

35

20

Oralcommunication

11 25

Workingwithothers

Thinkingskills

34 40

15

Computeruse

33

23 5

10

15

No

31

21

Continuouslearning

0

Yes

44

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

The interview may be the method of assessment for oral communication. I would be curious to know if someone uses a specific tool to measure oral communication skills during the hiring process. comment by project partners The Essential Skills web-site has FREE, printable reading, document use and numeracy indicator exercises to use during your recruitment and succession planning process. http://srv108.services.gc.ca/english/general/tools_apps_e.shtml Essential Skills for Employment

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Question: What do you consider to be the highest skill training need for your current employees? The following list represents the most often identified skill training needs. (56 responses) One response identified high school/college/university as the skill level. This response indicates an education level versus a skill level. •

Communication with co-workers and people in other departments, including safety instructions and related work procedures (11)

Thinking – includes understanding what is being said, analyzing information, logical presentation of thoughts, planning oral responses and work plans, and problem solving (11)

Working with Others and team building, achieving common goals, cross training (7)

Writing - attention to details; Reading Text– both speed and comprehension (7)

Computer Use - MS office, Excel, email, programmable controllers (6)

Effectively managing attendance (4)

Numeracy - all applications related to numbers such as mathematics – and formulas (4)

Accepting/managing change (3)

Reading - English (2)

Change is showing more and more everywhere. It’s good to see employers are it realizing it and embracing it. comment by project partners Employers were asked Thinking of your own workplace, what kinds of skills do you consider to be Essential Skills? Top three Essential Skills listed: • Oral Communication • Working with Others • Computer Use Report- Essential Skills in Canadian Workplaces, 2007; 1500 employers were surveyed Essential Skills for Employment

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Question: What do you consider the greatest need for skill improvement among job applicants? The following list represents the most often identified skill improvements: (54 responses) •

Communication, communication, communication!!!!! All forms – oral, written (particularly with resumes), spelling and grammar, listening, working with others, taking time to ensure understanding (several references to the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.) (25)

Continuous Learning – understanding and applying current technologies, theories, concept, and computer applications. (15)

Thinking Skills, problem solving,– critical/lateral/creative thinking outside the box. (9)

General responses such as, “as above, ditto, trades positions, same, demonstrating enthusiasm. “ (5)

The results of this question reinforce what we are telling our clients in the employment sector: communication skills, problem solving skills, and continuous learning are important. comment by project partners Problem solving (Thinking Skills), teamwork (Working with Others) and verbal communication (Oral Communication) were top three Essential Skills identified by management. 2007-2008 Annual Management Issue Survey. Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

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Question: With reference to the responses in the previous 2 questions briefly identify if training/development needs have changed from past years and if so, in what ways. (Enter N/A if training/development needs have remained the same.) The following list represents the most often identified responses to how training/development needs have changed, and in what ways: (54 responses) •

Workplaces have become more integrated and computerized, resulting in less interaction between employees, need for continuous learning in all business aspects, particularly with computer applications. (6)

Same needs, just more critical than in the past. (3)

New learning centre to ensure appropriate training for all levels of staff – a 4 hour orientation “Bronze” program for staff, back up for Department Manager “Silver” program and a “Gold” program for Department Manager training. (3)

Increasing emphasis on health & safety issues, processes, procedures and monitoring. (3)

More emphasis on dealing with people/customers. (3)

With job applications being mostly on line, and new accessibility standards being developed, there is need to ensure web applications are accessible to all. Language and diversity issues will be a rising concern. (2)

31 responded N/A, and 3 responses were too general to define. The increased use of technology for communication puts additional pressure on employees to have solid communication skills. They need to be clear in the messages that they send. comment by project partners People with low literacy levels may be good performers in their current jobs. They have learned their jobs by example and instinct, and through experience. However, they are likely to be slower to respond to new developments and change. Business Results Through Essential Skills and Literacy - Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Ontario Essential Skills for Employment

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Question: Employers are moving toward more innovative prosesses. What skills will be required by your employees to enable them to adapt to new innovations and the accompanying processes?

3

Reading text

19 8

Documentuse

17

7

Numeracy 1

2

Oralcommunication

1 Continuouslearning

Notatallimportant Somewhatimportant 46 45

3

17

N/A

35

7

47 14

37

1 0

Important Essential

9

4

Computeruse

31

8

2

Thinkingskills

28

20

2

Workingwithothers

34 21

4

Writing

34

10

20

30

40

50

Skills that employees will need to enable them to adapt to new innovations and accompanying processes: (4 “optional” comments) •

Sharing information

Listening

Showing initiative

Personal development that is sustainable – reading, writing and mathematics

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It makes sense that employers listed Thinking Skills, Working with Others and Oral Communication as the top three skills. These are the skills that will help workplaces deal with change. comment by project partners Nine in ten employers say that Essential Skills are very important for improving customer satisfaction, the overall success of the organization and improving the productivity of employees. Report- Essential Skills in Canadian Workplaces, 2007

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Question: Please indicate if the skill level will be at the Basic or Advanced level for entry positions in your company by placing a check in the appropriate box.

33

Readingtext

21 39

Documentuse

15 38

Numeracy

16 32

Writing

22 12

Oralcommunication

Basic

37

Advanced 17

Workingwithothers

37 28 26

Continuouslearning 12

Thinkingskills

42 30

Computeruse

25 0

10

20

30

40

50

(5 “optional” comments) •

Skill level will vary depending on the job description and the supervisory level

Depends on the position. Some of the entry level positions will require advanced skills whereas other introductory positions just need basic skill levels

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Most positions require advanced, but it would certainly be role specific. Too many roles in healthcare to identify each case. I would say advanced for almost all positions.

Depends on the position – warehouse versus office.

Always willing to develop other employee’s supervisory skills.

Global competition and evolving technology increases the need for highly skilled employees. comment by survey developer

Essential Skills are the foundation for learning other skills, such as technical skills. They also help us adapt to change. It is no surprise that we say these skills are transferable from school to work and further education or training, as well as from job to job and sector to sector. Ontario Skills Passport-Ministry of Education

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Question: In the spaces below, using key words, please identify what formal tools you use to assess applicants’/employees’ Essential Skills. If not assessed, please enter "N/A". Of the respondents to this question, the following list represents the summary of comments for each of the Essential Skills: Reading text: 42 responses,

Document Use: 41 responses

reading assignments (7)

interpreting patient charts (5)

presentations (7)

simulation exercises (3)

work instructions (7)

written component (2)

online aptitude/competency testing (6)

completing electronic forms (2)

role-plays (2)

not applicable (25)

not applicable (16)

too general to define (4)

too general to define (3) Numeracy: 41 responses

Writing: 41 responses

financial simulations (6)

resumes (4)

computer evaluations (5) Excel testing (1)

written responses to interview questions (4)

measuring (1)

written questions and answers (4)

PREVUE assessments (1)

reports (3)

not applicable (24)

aptitude testing (1)

too general to define (3)

patient reports (1) completing forms (1) emails during the interview process (1) proposals (1) scripts for broadcasting (1) not applicable (15) too general to define (3)

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Oral Communication: 42 responses

Working with Others: 42 responses

define - telephone and face-to-face interviews (28)

define - reference checks (8)

shift transfer briefings (1)

PREVUE assessments (2)

behaviour-based questions (1)

DISC (DiSC Profile is a self-scored

projects (1)

behavioural assessment. Behavioural

presentations (1)

styles are grouped in four categories:

role plays (1) not applicable (8)

Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.) (2)

too general to define (1)

not applicable (17)

team experiences (5)

too general to define (4)

Continuous Learning: 42 responses

Oral Communication: 41 responses

skills listings as part of application process (12)

testing (11)

history of courses taken (2)

performance reviews (2)

internal and external training

presentations (1)

courses (2)

PERVUE assessments (2)

interview process (10)

behavioural evaluation 2 yearly learning plans 1. not applicable (22) too general to define (1)

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Computer Use: 41 responses exercises in MS Office, Excel, electronic forms (other than job application process), assessing ability to access electronic records (11) requirement to complete computer testing as part of the application process (8) computerized application process (4) not applicable (16) too general to define (2)

Employers may be using the application process to informally test people’s Essential Skills (for example- resumes, phone conversations and written tests during interviews). comment by project partners Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) has undergone an extensive psychometric review and nation-wide field-testing involving thousands of Canadians to ensure its validity. These results prove that TOWES is the best measure of Essential Skills in Canada. TOWES website www.towes.com

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Question: Please rate the effectiveness of the methods used in the previous question, using a scale of 1-4 with 1 being poor and 4 being excellent.

ReadingTextTools

3.11

DocumentUseTools

2.59

NumeracyTools

2.7

WritingTools

3.07

WorkingwithOthersTools

2.63

ThinkingSkillsTools

3

ComputersUseTools

2.57

0

0.5

1

1.5

2

2.5

3

3.5

40 responses. No additional comments provided.

For more information on Essential Skills hiring tools that are available to employers, see Think, Know, Do at the end of this report.

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Question: For each of the following Essential Skills, please provide typical examples of skills the employee would need to demonstrate ability to perform. For example, for Reading Text: read detailed work instructions, accident investigation reports, policies and procedures. The following represents a summary of comments on how Essential Skills are used in the workplace. (33 responses) Reading Text bulletins

detailed student documents

work orders

maps

policies and procedures

feedback

newsletters;

matching up parts to use in an assembly process

technical specifications computer programming languages

MSDS sheets

emails

reading pick tickets in the warehouse

accident reports

inventory sheets

schedules

floor plans

task lists

customer orders

box labels

technical requirements/drawings

patient charts

reading on-air (radio)

medical observation notes

laws and taxation issues.

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Document Use blueprints

creating reports

work instructions

organizing complex job information

accident forms

audit reports

technical function specifications

pick tickets

work schedules

project plans

refrigeration temperature logs

ability to skim documents and organize by priority, prepare and understand spreadsheets.

formatting and inserting information

Numeracy projections basic math calculations interpreting number reports/budgets production runs, order checking calculating tuition amounts adding on time cards balancing petty cash invoicing complete retail transactions, making change and verifying jackpots achieving sales objectives collect and account for money.

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Writing writing letters/emails/memos reports work instructions presentations, creating Power Point writing meeting minutes formal documents, proposals; professional documents newsletters, advertising, writing news scripts filling out forms purchase orders completing forms specifications; customer and sales information

Oral Communication presentations

explaining problems

face-to-face meetings teleconferencing; clear directions

engage with others in focus groups facilitated by other people

work orders

excellent grammar.

speaking to peers and supervisors answer phones instructions to team speaking with office staff mentoring others

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Working With Others meetings

working with different teams dealing with public/upset people, patience in answering questions/explaining concepts.

problem solving conflict resolution goal setting inter-office relationships team successes focus group involvement project participation

Continuous Learning open to new ideas

ongoing training or cross-training to

change thinking

enhance ability to assist customers or for promotional opportunities

problem solving applying learning on the job

learning new technologies

educate to stay current

expanding knowledge of local issues.

new systems and processes policy changes new skills – AZ and DZ licences leadership, career development

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Thinking Skills analysis creative thinking

working on assignments with no supervision

detailed and logical problem solving

problem solving when not enough

conflict management

items in stock

thinking ahead

daily problem solving

thinking like a customer common sense required

customer sales – how to help customers resolve concerns

analysis of patient information

problem solving technical issues

deal with emergent issues

read

thinking continuous improvement

understand and perform practical exercises

working through student issues

suggesting changes to work procedures

diagnosing issues original thinking

comprehend instructions/questions.

It’s important that when talking about Essential Skills we keep in mind that each industry uses them differently. comment by project partners 79 per cent of respondents to a Conference Board of Canada study said productivity increased because of basic skills programs in their workplaces. – The Economic Benefits of Improving Literacy Skills in the Workplace, Conference Board of Canada, 2007

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Computer Skills learn and operate SAP computer system access required information when needed order processing creating word programs Excel, spreadsheets, budgets, project planning using time clocks stock checking, using cash registers and weigh scales, email data input and verifying data PeopleSoft, MS Office Suite repair and parts manual/internet based tying computers to vehicles audio editing (radio) quality assurance data access and use graphs work instructions demonstrate comfort level using equipment.

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Think How are the Essential Skills used in your company?

Reading Text _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

Document Use _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

Numeracy _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

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Think How are the Essential Skills used in your company?

Writing _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

Oral Communication _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

Working with Others _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

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Think How are the Essential Skills used in your company?

Thinking Skills _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Computer Use __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

Continuous Learning _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

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Think Essential Skills: How do they rate in your company? (1-9, with 1 being the most important) Reading Text Document Use Numeracy Writing Oral Communication Working with Others Thinking Skills Computer Use Continuous Learning

How could knowing this help you to hire the right people for your workplace? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

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Know Discover the Essential Skills that are needed for your workplace Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) (Free Essential Skills Toolkits for employers) Below is list of just some of the items you may be interested in. Download the toolkits or order them for free! Organizational Needs Assessment This needs assessment allows you to determine whether skills gaps are impacting your business performance. This could offer valuable insight into the current skills situation and training needs in your organization. Workplace Survey This survey can help you examine the Essential Skills of your organization as a whole or can be applied to different individuals or groups (e.g. all employees in a certain occupation). Individual employees may also want to complete the survey as an assessment of their own skills. Workplace Check-up This tool is designed to help employers gather employee feedback on Essential Skills in the workplace. The information collected will provide employers with a better understanding of the training needs of their organization. Employers may find it useful to complete the chart and compare their responses with those of their employees.

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Know Hiring Checklist This tool is designed to support employers’ hiring decisions. Finding out which Essential Skills a potential employee would bring to the workplace is important. It can help determine if the skills a candidate demonstrates match the skills required for the position being filled. Essential Skills Interview Assistant CD This CD is a tool that you can customize for your workplace. It will help you prepare to conduct interview sessions with job candidates. It provides Essential Skills-based assessment questions for certain job and possible answers. http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/essential_skills/general/home. shtml

National Occupational Classification (NOC) Codes Over the past several years, the Government of Canada has conducted extensive research examining the skills people use in the workplace. From this research and through interviews with workers, managers, practitioners and leading researchers, close to 200 Essential Skills profiles for various occupations have been developed. Search the NOC codes that match the work your company does to find what Essential Skills are needed. http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/noc/index.shtml Also at this site is a free guide: “Job Descriptions: An Employers’ Handbook -How to write them - How to use them” http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/noc/employers/emplr_handbooks.shtml

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Know Know if your employees have the skills they need to succeed Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) Many employers have been using years-in-school or other credentials to measure an applicant’s abilities. By doing this, employers could be limiting their chances of hiring the best employees for the job, as some employees have the skills but not the educational credentials. TOWES gives employers a way to set reasonable and valid entry-level job requirements. TOWES testing is offered through local colleges (at a cost). Find if your employees have the skills they need to work effectively. TOWES.com

Measure Up! A free web-based tool that helps employees to test their own Essential Skills. Each problem set is based on a document - a memo, catalogue, regulations, work order - associated with the workplace. These online activities could give employees a chance to see what skills they have and what skills they need to improve. measureup.towes.com

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Do • Identify the NOC codes that are used in your organization skills.edu.gov.on.ca Select “Occupation and Tasks” from the tool bar at the top of the page. Select “Sort by Title” to find a listing of occupations

• Create a job ad or job description that focuses on Essential Skills and habits needed for your workplace skills.edu.gov.on.ca Find the following “Employer Tools” in the tool bar at the top of the page • Create a job ad or job description • Tips for interviewing and hiring • Tips for giving feedback on job performance

• Review your hiring process to see if you are hiring based on skills and not just academic achievement • Encourage employees to build their Essential Skills skills.edu.gov.on.ca Select “Check-up Tools” from the tool bar at the top. Self-assessments are available for employees to explore what Essential Skills they can improve.

• Plan for professional development to address gaps in Essential Skills in your organization Contact Literacy Link South Central to discuss your training needs (see information on the back cover.)

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Literacy Link South Central Literacy Link South Central services the 6 counties of Oxford, Elgin, Middlesex, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk, as part of the Employment Ontario system. We help adults in our community to build their literacy and Essential Skills for success at work. We can help you to: • determine your workplace literacy and Essential Skills needs • connect with literacy and Essential Skills providers in your community Literacy Link South Central literacylink@bellnet.ca (519) 681-7307 www.llsc.on.ca

Content for the employer survey report was compiled by: EMOLTB is funded by:

The employer survey for this report was designed by Richard Weston, Weston Management Resources and Deb Mountenay, Executive Director, EMOLTB, with valuable input from the Project Partners

Essential Skills for Employment  

What Resumes Won't Tell You

Essential Skills for Employment  

What Resumes Won't Tell You

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