Integrating essential-skills training and employment services in British Columbia

Developing essential skills is becoming increasingly important for Canadian workers.

Essential skills are those that Canadians need to succeed in work, learning and life. They include literacy, numeracy and digital literacy, as well as social and emotional skills such as communication, adaptability, problem solving and collaboration. These skills provide workers with a strong foundation to help them find a job, succeed at work and pursue further learning and skills development throughout their lives.

The project

The Government of Canada’s Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program is funding a project to design and test an innovative intervention to integrate essential-skills training and employment services in British Columbia to improve the employment outcomes of jobseekers. Blueprint is partnering with the Training Group at Douglas College — which delivers labour market training programs and services — to design and pilot the new initiative.

Working together, Blueprint and the Training Group are designing and testing a skills-training model to better prepare jobseekers for success in the labour market.

Our approach

Our team is using a human-centred design approach, which prioritizes the needs and experiences of clients. This involves working to understand their attitudes, feelings and behaviours. We are testing and evaluating approaches for measuring social and emotional skills, which we hope will contribute to the knowledge base on how to assess these skills in the context of employment services and adult training.

We will track the program’s effectiveness, and use the data to make continuous improvements to the program and to gain a better understanding of who would most benefit from it.

What’s next

The skills-training curriculum will be delivered at the Training Group’s WorkBC Centre sites in Maple Ridge, Langley and Aldergrove. We are seeking additional service providers throughout the province to participate in the pilot, which aims to recruit 1,100 jobseekers who will receive the essential-skills training.

The pilot is expected to continue until 2023. The findings could have important consequences for the success of jobseekers in British Columbia and throughout Canada.


Funded by the Government of Canada’s Adult  Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills  Program