Workplace Education

Sector Council Program<


Six Simple Steps to a Successful Program

Step 1: Build a team

The first step is to assemble a project team to build and promote workplace education in your organization. This team will be made up of representatives from all stakeholder groups including managers, supervisors, workers, and union representatives if applicable.

Your Workplace Education coordinator will help you set up the project team and make the process seamless by:

  • Leading a needs assessment.
  • Helping you to apply for funding and select an instructor.
  • Providing ongoing advice and support to the project team and the process.

The Project Team will:

  • Work with management and union officials to gauge interest and get approval for the program.
  • Complete and submit an application for funding.
  • Set goals and priorities.
  • Hire and support the instructor.
  • Arrange information sessions to identify barriers and inform workers.
  • Monitor to ensure the program is on schedule and on track to achieve its goals.
  • Celebrate the success of participants.

Step 2: Assess Workplace Needs

The next step is to conduct an Organizational Needs assessment. This assessment is a key element of a successful Workplace Education initiative. The Assessment is led by the Workplace Education coordinator. This may include face-to-face interviews, meetings, focus groups, surveys, and workplace tours. A report documenting the educational needs and goals of the organization along with recommendations about how to meet those needs will be produced. Topics might include:

  • Training practices in the workplace.
  • Skills requirements.
  • Strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.
  • Assessment of training and learning attitudes.
  • Barriers to participation.
  • Recommendations on how to proceed.

Step 3: Set Goals

Once the assessment is complete, the Project Team will meet to review the assessment and discuss what the program should achieve. The team will arrive at common, agreed-upon goals and ways to achieve those goals.

Some examples of program goals that have been set in the past:

  • "Improve communications between engineering and the shop floor"
  • "Strengthen document use skills to enable workers to better use ISO 9000 documentation"
  • "Increase computer proficiency to improve accounting and social media skills"
  • "Improve reading and problem solving skills to assist staff better understand and adapt to new equipment"

Step 4: Hire the Instructor

A selection committee is created to hire the instructor. It is recommended that a cross section of employees be included on the committee. For example the committee might include a manager, a supervisor, an employee and a union representative.

The following tools are provided to help with the hiring process:

  • Instructor's job description.
  • Sample interview questions and rating form.
  • Sample contract.

The selection committee interviews potential instructors and recommends which one to hire. The Workplace Education Coordinator can support you through this process however, the final hiring decision belongs to the project team.

Instructor's responsibilities

The instructor develops a customized course based on the organization's needs and provides onsite instruction to workers.

The instructor will:

  • Tour the workplace and meet your staff.
  • Help to promote the program and recruit participants.
  • Gather relevant workplace materials for the curriculum and adapt materials from other sources as required.
  • Assess learners' needs, interest, and goals.
  • Develop a database to record successes and quantify results.
  • Check and record progress against organizational and individual goals.
  • Provide progress reports to the Project Team.
  • Assist the Project Team in the development of a summary that describes results of the program and provides recommendations on further workplace training.
  • Help with closing ceremonies.

Step 5. Evaluate

The program is evaluated throughout the process. Information is gathered from participants, the instructor, managers, supervisors, and the Project Team. A variety of methods such as surveys, focus groups, informal interviews, records and observations may be used.

A written summary of results is produced at the end of the program and recommendations for further workplace training may be made.

Step 6. Celebrate

Success stories need to be told and celebrated, so we can learn from them and ensure it happens again, and again...

It is important to acknowledge and celebrate both individual and corporate successes. Recognition and celebrating success contributes to a learning culture.

For some employees, new skills and knowledge, along with the increased professional opportunities they provide, are reward enough for participating in learning opportunities. For others, direct recognition of achievements increases enthusiasm and participation, and contribute to the emergence of a workplace culture of learning. Workplaces may recognize this and create personal incentives for employees to succeed in work-related learning.

Here are examples of results well worth celebrating:

  • "A decade ago I was a snow plough driver and now I've earned my GED diploma. Now I help other people reach their goals." Kevin Landry, Department of Transportation Infrastructure & Renewal
  • "As Helly Hansen transitions into new markets developing our ability to adapt to change is crucial. Workplace Education gave us the confidence to come to the 'change table'." Dan Clarke, CEO, Helly Hansen
  • "People could relate to the material and bring it directly back to work." Janet Thomas, HR Director, Minas Basin Pulp and Power
  • "It gave me a whole new skill set that I can apply to the job" Dan Francis, Pete's Frootique
  • "Thanks to Workplace Education we have a happy staff, inviting atmosphere, and better understanding of each other" Georgette Beaulieu, Mira Long Term Care Facility
  • We noticed a difference in the employees right away, and the price was fantastic." Pete Luckett, Pete's Frootique