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References and PD Resources

for Skills and Language for Work

This section includes resources that informed the best practices and resources (academic articles, websites, videos, tutorials, courses, etc.) for professional development and further learning on this topic.

This page introduces the nine Essential Skills and the Essential Skills levels. Examples of workplace tasks illustrate the Essential Skills and levels.

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES) (n.d.). Essential skills.

This article highlights the importance of building learners’ awareness of soft skills for employability. It has lesson ideas for teaching learners verbal and non-verbal soft skills from intermediate to advanced levels.

Bartel, J. (2018). Teaching soft skills for employability. TESL Canada Journal, 35(1), 78–92.

This comparative framework contextualizes the Essential Skills (ES) framework within the context of language development and the Canadian Language Benchmarks. It is designed to support ESL instructors with learners who hope to join the workforce (as well as ES practitioners who are working with employees who are language learners). It helps instructors identify employment-related content for the classroom, as well as develop learning materials, assessments, and programs.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks & NorQuest College. (n.d.) Canadian Language Benchmarks-Essential Skills comparative framework [Working document].

Based on tasks identified in occupation-specific Essential Skills Profiles and NOCs, Occupational Language Analyses define the CLB levels required to perform the tasks from selected Essential Skills Profiles.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (n.d.). For regulatory bodies. PBLA Practice Guidelines.

This article presents results from two studies identifying the communication needs of adult immigrants in the workplace. The studies highlight the importance of going beyond the traditional LINC/ESL focus on the four skills, and addressing the oral communication needs of adult immigrant learners, not neglecting listening, pronunciation, and pragmatics.

Derwing, T. (2016, May). The Three P’s of ESL in the workplace: Proficiency, pronunciation, and pragmatics. TESL Ontario Contact Research Symposium Issue, 10–20.

This website provides an introduction to the framework of skills identified by the Government of Canada as needed to thrive and participate in learning, work, and life. Previously called Essential Skills, these are now called Skills for Success and include the following: adaptability, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation, digital, numeracy, problem solving, reading, and writing.

ES Profiles provide detailed information about the tasks and essential skills that people in an occupation need, ranked on a 1–4 complexity scale.

Instructors might refer to these Profiles when planning curriculum and tasks for learners heading to a specific workplace.

Learners may refer to these Profiles to learn more about a target occupation and to set learning goals.

Government of Canada. (2021). Essential skills profiles.

NOCs provide brief descriptions of what workers do in a particular occupation, along with sample titles, main duties, employment requirements, and additional information.

Government of Canada. (2020). National occupational classification (NOC).

Essential skills are rated on a scale of 1–5 in terms of their complexity. This resource summarizes each Essential Skill. It defines and gives sample tasks for each complexity level of each Essential Skill.

Government of Canada (2015). Reader's guide to critical skills profiles.

This webpage includes a short 30–50 second video introducing each of the nine Essential Skills. It would be useful for ESL instructors who are new to the Essential Skills; instructors may also choose to use the videos in class.

Skills Compétences Canada (2014–2021). What are the nine essential skills?

The page links to a variety of workplace projects designed to help newcomers to Alberta integrate into the workplace.

Whitelaw, C., Abe, Y., & Waugh, E. (n.d.). Teaching essential skills for English in the workplace: Professional development workshops. NorQuest College.