Enhancing Immigrants’ Essential ‘Soft’ Skills – a win-win solution

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Finding and keeping workers with the knowledge and skills needed to get the job done is critical for today’s businesses. Learning more about the nine essential skills used in nearly every job can help you reap the benefits of effectively engaging immigrants at work.

Many employers recognize that immigrants have the technical skills required to complete workplace tasks, but often find that they lack the equally valued “soft skills”, such as communication, problem-solving and teamwork, to excel at work.

A pilot project led by Bow Valley College, Success in the Workplace: Essential Skills Training for Immigrant Professionals, found that this “disconnect” between the skills workers thought they needed (technical) and those their employers wanted (soft skills) often faded once both learned about the importance of essential skills.

Essential skills offer employers a common language that can help both employers and employees identify skills gaps and support essential skills development to increase job potential.

Integrating essential skills into business practices does not have to be time consuming or complicated. For example:

•    The Vocabulary Building Workbook can be used with immigrant workers to boost their communication skills – both oral and written – through a variety of exercises that teach new words commonly used in the Canadian workplace.

•    The Working with Others Tip Sheet is an easy-to-follow tool that offers practical tips to help improve workers’ teamwork skills.

Businesses that effectively attract, retain and engage skilled immigrants benefit from increased innovation, productivity and overall competitiveness. Boost your success by tapping into this vital source of talent – and use essential skills to get you started.

For more information on essential skills and to access helpful guides, checklists and worksheets, check out the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills’ website.

Shareef Korah is a Policy Analyst at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Office of Literacy and Essentials Skills-OLES

Hire Immigrants Ottawa works with local employers to help them effectively hire and integrate skilled immigrants into their workplaces.

For information on placing a sponsored article on OBJ.ca, please contact Terry Tyo at 613-238-1818 ext. 268.

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  • The Dartmouth Learning Network
    January 21, 2014 - 06:10

    On a recent trip to Halifax (Jan 15 2014) Minister of State (Social Development) Candice Bergen clearly stated that the Government of Canada does not support programs offering Soft Skill Development, Literacy or Education, your article is spot on when it speaks to how soft skills enhance employability, yet is unfortunately contrary to the Government of Canada's Agenda.