From Better Skills to Better Work: How Career Ladders can Support the Transition from Low-Skill to High-Skill Work, 2013

With a skills shortage looming, the projected shortfall of workers in Canada is expected to rise to at least 1.4 million by 2031 - possibly reaching as high at 3.9 million. To address this skills shortage, the resources of all Canadians must be tapped – including adults with low educational assistance and those who are on social assistance. For the most part, however, literacy and essential skills (LES) programming and transitions into skills training or postsecondary programs are not typically aligned with employment sectors, labour market information or workplace progression. But there are ways in which this can change – and they’re happening all across the world.

From Better Skills to Better Work: How Career Ladders can Support the Transition from Low-Skill to High-Skill Work is the third in a series of research briefs on Becoming State of the Art – a series that encourages innovation in the delivery of essential skills to achieve results that matter.

From Better Skills to Better Work explores ‘Career Ladders’, a series of connected literacy, language and skills training programs that enable individuals to secure employment within a specific industry or occupational cluster, and allows them to advance to higher levels of education and employment.

From Better Skills to Better Work speaks to emerging career ladder frameworks that have gained significant traction in the US, Australia, the UK, New Zealand and other countries. Although varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the common denominator between these systems remains the same: to help workers move up a career ladder after they enter employment, not before.

The reality is, though diverse and comparatively well-funded, Ontario’s training system has not achieved the results needed for the employment and career advancement of lower-skilled adults who are either on income support or are in low-wage jobs. By looking to the promising work being done in other jurisdictions, developing career ladders in Ontario could provide under-skilled workers with concrete steps towards better skills and better jobs, contributing to a more productive, prosperous economy.