AWES Mission and History

Our Mission

To provide integrated essential skills, language and intercultural communication training solutions, generating returns at work, in the community and society.


Since its launch in 1989, AWES has remained at the leading edge of essential skills initiatives. We partner with organizations that use essential skills to stay current with emerging economic, technological, demographic, and immigration trends. We continue to build on our long history of innovation.

1989 to 1996:
AWES is Born

AWES began with the Alberta Workplace Literacy Advisory Committee. Under the visionary leadership of Carolyn Dieleman from the Government of Alberta, nine representatives gathered from business, labour, education and government to build an awareness of workplace literacy issues in Alberta. Consultants were hired to facilitate presentations to interest groups in the province. Groundbreaking initiatives during this period included training and development with the oil and gas sector, as well as the steel and roofing industries.

1996 to 2003:
AWES Advances

Seven years later, AWES aligned with a more strategic sector approach to essential skills. A working group met to articulate a new mandate and vision. They changed the name to the Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Committee. AWES formed strong working relationships with strategic sectors - oil and gas, construction, food processing and forestry sectors - each sector impacted by steady growth, labour shortages, and continuous introduction of new work processes.

2003 to 2010:
AWES Becomes a Society

In the pattern of seven-year cycles, AWES found new independence in 2003 when it became the Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society. Housed within a supportive Alberta educational institute since 1989, AWES now gained a new agility to respond more rapidly to the needs of Albertans and their workplaces.

2010 to present:
AWES Broadens
the Base

With the arrival of fresh faces on the board, a new executive director and an expanded team of consultants, AWES has entered a new season. The team is tackling the workforce issues that define Alberta at this time - high-needs sectors and groups, critical workplace learning demands, acute skills gaps, rapid technological complexity, sudden demographic shifts, and increasing diversity. Whether at the sectoral, organizational or human level, AWES continues to build a positive future in Alberta’s workforce.