AWES is a key partner of employers, workers, educators and government. Our projects include local, provincial and national initiatives. Many of our initiatives give native and non-native English speakers access to instruction and materials for language training, intercultural competence, workplace safety, and the related workplace essential skills.


Training solutions to increase productivity and workplace capacity

AWES works with individual companies to understand their business goals, productivity issues and skills gaps. Synthesizing information that we gather from all employee levels, from management to front-line workers, allows us to create targeted, effective training that gets measurable results.  AWES frequently collaborates with other service providers to tailor optimal essential skills services.

Employers want their employees to have the right essential skills levels to perform competently at their jobs. This means safer workplaces, decreased errors and redo’s, less waste, better retention and promotion, and overall increased productivity.  See signs of a low skilled workforce for more of the reasons.

We have worked with employers, unions and associations in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing
  • Food processing
  • Waterworks
  • Environmental services
  • Construction


AWES was created by visionary leadership to build essential skills capacity for Alberta. We have enduring partnerships with government organizations, collaborating to address the most pressing workforce learning needs. AWES has been funded by both provincial and federal government departments, including:

  • Employment and Social Development Canada, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Social Research and Demonstration Corporation
  • Alberta Labour, Immigrant Settlement and Language Programs
  • Alberta Labour, Foreign Qualifications Recognition Unit
  • Alberta Human Services, Community Partnerships Branch


AWES works with trainers from a variety of industries including literacy, community adult learning programs, immigrant serving organizations, businesses and colleges. Through joint ventures, AWES has worked to build capacity of organizations to meet the workplace essential skills gaps of their clients.  Practitioners who take our training are able to:

  • Focus on the essential skills required in the workplace
  • Understand the complexity of workplace tasks
  • Embed authentic materials and tasks at individual companies in their classrooms
  • Assess essential skills

Employment Agencies

Employment agencies look to AWES to better understand the essential skills framework, the essential skills profiles and how to use this knowledge to better support the clients they face daily. Effective essential skils training through employment agencies can increase employee retention and safety in the workplace. AWES trains employment counsellors to:

  • Use workplace essential skills tools
  • Identify essential skills required by the employer
  • Assess clients for essential skills gaps
  • Create workplace essential skills development plans for clients

Indigenous Groups

Indigenous groups benefit from understanding essential skills requirements in the workplace. AWES works with indigenous communities to identify strengths and workplace essential skills gaps, develop curricula and deliver training. The benefit of AWES training is that it identifies strengths as the starting point.

Recruiting Agencies

AWES provides workplace essential skills expertise and tools to overseas recruiting agencies. Our approach is not to screen out applicants but to identify the gaps prior to arrival.  We provide workplace supports to ensure immigrants can transition successfully to Canadian workplaces. To do this AWES looks at the workplace essential skills, language and intercultural competencies needed to make the process seamless for the employer.