It’s never too late to keep learning, and a new free literacy program is helping employees across Newfoundland and Labrador manage life skills more confidently.
ABC Life Literacy Canada’s Activate Learning program launched in February to bring financial literacy, health literacy, workplace literacy and essential skills into Newfoundland and Labrador in a fresh, accessible way.
“Literacy skills erode without practice, so we truly believe everyone should continue to practice and upgrade these skills,” says Mack Rogers, Executive Director at ABC Life Literacy Canada.
FREE TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES
The project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Adult Learning, Literacy & Essential Skills program, which means there’s no cost to employers — and they may even receive funding to offset salary costs while their employees are completing the training.
The non-profit organization provides 24 workshops to choose from, divided up into four categories:
- Document use
- Oral communication
- Working with others
- Digital technology
- Continuous learning
- Time management
- Stress management
- Spending plans
- Banking basics
- Borrowing money
- RESPs and other ways to save
- Take charge of your health
- Map out your health
Employers can pick and choose from any of the 24 workshops, each of which take an average of 1-2 hours to complete. Printed teaching materials and online facilitator training is provided, and if there isn’t someone within the organization who can deliver the training, ABC Life Literacy Canada can provide a facilitator to make sure the program is delivered at the highest level.
These workshops can reduce stress through essential skills and financial literacy training, support community safety through health literacy training, and share workplace skills that help with securing and maintaining employment.
Employers in the local hospitality and manufacturing sectors have already had success with the ABC Activate Learning program, and Rogers says it’s designed for all types of workplaces and community organizations.
Lori Sheppard, Project Coordinator with the St. John’s Board of Trade, says they saw an opportunity to work with ABC Life Literacy to develop a quality professional development program — based on practical skills — that members could offer their employees.
The Board of Trade staff took the stress management session as a “trial run” for their members, and Sheppard says everyone was impressed with the discussion-based session led by ABC Activate Learning Project Coordinator Erica Ruth Kelly.
“We talked about causes of stress, how much stress is unhealthy, and most importantly, in my opinion, we shared ideas for managing stress,” says Sheppard. “I found it to be a really helpful session, and the feedback I received from my coworkers echoed that.”
The St. John’s Board of Trade staff enjoyed the session so much that they’ve already scheduled workshops for their members, and upcoming topics include confidence, thinking, attitude, accountability and continuous learning.
“Improved workplace literacy can benefit everyone, regardless of how long they have been in the workforce,” says Sheppard. “These fundamental skills are necessary in any job and participants will be able to apply what they learn to their current jobs, and throughout their careers.”
ENGAGING AND ACCESSIBLE TRAINING
When employers invest in their employees, benefits can include improved skills and job performance, increases in employment earnings, job retention, productivity and savings from reduced errors and waste.
Ana Oliveira, Director of Marketing, Communications and Development at ABC Life Literacy Canada, says the ABC Activate Learning workshops can be held in person or virtually, and the training is written in clear language (Grade 6-8 level) so it’s engaging and accessible for most adult learners.
“When someone struggles with literacy, that doesn’t mean they can’t read or write, but that they’re not at a level where they can function to their full potential,” explains Oliveira. “We know how to reach adult learners, through our workshops and workbooks, and adapt to different styles of learning.”
To access free resources and learn more about hosting free literacy programming for your organization, visit abcactivatelearning.ca.