«Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams © Crown copyright, Province of Nova Scotia, 2011 First published 1989. Second edition 1998. ...»
WORKING TOGETHER TO GROW THE ECONOMY
Nova Scotia Workplace Education
Guide for Project Teams
© Crown copyright, Province of Nova Scotia, 2011
First published 1989. Second edition 1998. Third edition 2004.
All rights reserved. You may reproduce all or part of this publication for non-
commercial purposes, as long as you cite the source.
Nova Scotia. Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Nova Scotia
Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams. Halifax: Department of Labour and Advanced Education, 2011.
Contributors: Marjorie Davison and Judy Purcell Editor: Joanne Wise, Communications Nova Scotia Designer: Karen Brown, KBrown Design Photographer: Len Wagg, Communications Nova Scotia This publication is available online at nsworkplaceeducation.ca ISBN: 978-1-55457-417-9 Front photo: Nautel Limited Contents Is a Workplace Education program for you?
What is Workplace Education?
Skills for small business
Six steps to a successful program
Step 1: Set up a project team
Role of the Workplace Education coordinator
Role of the project team
Step 2: Assess the needs
Tips for communicating with workers
Sample letter of invitation
Sample survey/sign-up sheet
Step 3: Set goals
Step 4: Hire the instructor and deliver the program
The selection committee
Instructor’s job description
Sample interview questions and rating form
Orientation and support for the instructor
Individual needs assessments (INAs) for the instructor
Step 5. Evaluate the program
Step 6. Celebrate success
If you answered YES to any of these questions, then a Workplace Education program may benefit your organization. Contact the Department of Labour and Advanced Education for more information.
2 Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) Getting started This guide describes how to start and run a Workplace Education program in your organization.
Use it to help your project team get organized, hire an instructor, and deliver a successful program.
The guide has been prepared by Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
It is available online at www.nsworkplaceeducation.ca.
We would like to thank the many people who have helped to develop editions of this guide over the years—especially our partners, the Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia (AWENS) and the Nova Scotia Partners for Workplace Education.
Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) 3 Benefits Workplace Education benefits the employer, the worker, and the union. These are some of the key
benefits you can anticipate from a program:
• Build confidence and morale.
• Increase productivity.
• Improve communication and teamwork.
• Reduce staff turnaround.
• Strengthen management/labour relations.
• Improve health and safety.
• Manage change and help people to adapt.
Sample topics Following are examples of skills that might be included in your program. Remember that each program will be tailored to the needs of the employees and the workplace.
Reading skills Learn simple and effective ways to
• read faster
• understand what you read
• find the most important points
• remember details and more.
Document skills Discover better ways to use documents at work. This might include
• interpreting graphs, illustrations, and tables
• finding answers in manuals and quick reference guides
• completing forms and more.
Communication skills Learn ways to communicate more effectively with team members, customers, suppliers, and others.
Topics might include
• speaking and listening
• clear writing
• effective meetings
• effective supervision
• effective presentations
• team building
• problem solving and decision making
• conflict management
• customer service 4 Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) Computer skills Make the most of the computer hardware and software in your workplace. Topics might include
• using spreadsheets and other accounting tools
• designing better documents
• sharing documents and more.
Math skills Build confidence and improve accuracy. Topics might include
• metric conversion
• money math and more.
Skills for small business A program for small businesses might include a combination of skills, such as
• money math
• business writing
• information management
• computer skills
• customer service Academic upgrading Academic upgrading programs generally focus on reading, writing, numeracy, and problem solving.
Participants become re-accustomed to working in a classroom and more confident about taking tests.
Participants might take this opportunity to work towards a specific goal. For example:
• Workers who have not completed high school might focus on essential skills to help them pass the General Educational Development (GED) tests. GED is nationally recognized as the equivalent to a high school diploma.
• Workers who have finished high school might want to refresh their basic skills and learn more advanced skills—for example, to prepare for a certification program or studies at the college level.
Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) 5 Six steps to a successful program
1. Set up a project team to oversee the Workplace Education program.
2. Do a needs assessment to learn more about the issues and challenges in your workplace.
Your Workplace Education coordinator will lead the process.
3. Set goals and create a plan to achieve them.
4. Hire an instructor to deliver the program. The instructor will tailor the program to meet the specific needs of the workplace and employees.
5. Evaluate the program.
6. Celebrate success.
(Adapted from www.nsworkplaceeducation.ca/skills-of-my-employees/what-is-workplaceeducation/documents/2040_SD_WE_factsheetcolour.pdf) 6 Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) Step 1: Set up a project team The project team is a coalition of interest groups. It includes management representatives, worker representatives, and union representatives if there is a union. Your team might also choose to involve other groups—for example, an industry organization or a community group.
Diversity and commitment are two of your team’s greatest assets. A diverse team can
• Increase support and commitment to change.
• Help everyone to see the big picture.
• Encourage ownership of the Workplace Education program.
• Advocate for organizational and individual goals.
• Share skills and expertise.
• Improve lines of communication within the workplace.
Role of the Workplace Education coordinator Your Workplace Education coordinator will help you set up the project team and will participate
as a team member. The coordinator will also do the following:
• Lead the initial needs assessment, or arrange for a consultant to do the assessment.
• Help you to apply for funding.
• Help you to hire an instructor.
• Provide ongoing support to your team and to the instructor.
• Help to prepare interim and final reports.
Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) 7 Role of the project team The project team will
• Work with senior management and union officials to gauge interest and get approval for the Workplace Education program.
• Arrange information sharing sessions involving interested groups and the Workplace Education coordinator.
• Support the needs assessment process by – informing workers about the process – setting up interviews and focus groups – identifying barriers to involvement – reviewing the needs assessment report
• Set goals and priorities, based on the results of the needs assessment.
• Apply for funding.
• Hire and support the instructor.
• Promote the Workplace Education program and recruit participants.
• Meet regularly to ensure the following:
– The program is on schedule and on track to achieve the goals.
– The program complies with company policies and procedures.
• Complete an interim and final evaluation.
• Celebrate the success of participants who complete the program.
8 Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) Step 2: Assess the needs The Workplace Education coordinator, or a consultant hired by the coordinator, leads the needs assessment. This step is sometimes called an organizational needs assessment (ONA) to distinguish it from the individual needs assessments that the instructor does in step 4. The organizational needs assessment lays the essential groundwork for a successful Workplace Education program. The result is a report that documents the educational needs and goals of management, labour groups, and workers, along with recommendations about how to meet those needs.
Methods Typically, the coordinator or consultant gathers information from 15 to 20 per cent of the employees, including workers and management. The information may be gathered in some or all of the following
• face-to-face interviews
• separate focus groups for managers, staff, and union representatives
• workplace tours
It is important to assure participants about the following:
• Participation is voluntary.
• All information is strictly confidential. The assessment report will not identify the workers who participated in interviews, focus groups, or surveys.
• Interviews and focus groups will be conducted by the Workplace Education coordinator or consultant.
Each session will take approximately 45 to 60 minutes. The sessions will be informal and require only verbal responses from participants.
Scope Topics might include
• training practices in the workplace
• attitudes about training and learning
• essentials skills that workers need to do their jobs
• essential skills that workers need for personal and professional growth
• strengths and weaknesses of communication in the workplace
• barriers to participation in Workplace Education
• recommendations about the types of programs that would benefit workers and the organization, and about preferred locations and scheduling Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) 9 Tips for communicating with workers
• Management and the union should jointly endorse all information communicated to workers.
• Whenever possible, representatives from the project team should attend presentations made to workers.
• Include the names of all project team members on printed materials so that workers can choose who to contact with questions or to sign up for a program.
• Consider setting up an information table in a convenient location to make it easier for workers to find out about the program.
• Present information in a clear, memorable, and inviting way.
• Use a variety of methods to communicate with workers, including word of mouth, print, and e-mail.
Word-of-mouth communications might include the following:
• informal conversations
• announcements at regularly scheduled meetings of department heads, shop stewards, committees, and other groups
• information sessions arranged specifically to tell workers about the Workplace Education Initiative.
Print communications might include the following:
• a letter of invitation to participate in the needs assessment (see the Sample Letter of Invitation, below)
• posters and bulletin-board notices
• an article in the company or union newsletter
• a brochure or information page that workers can pick up in the lunchroom or other area.
E-mail might include a letter of invitation or notices about the Workplace Education Initiative.
10 Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) Sample letter of invitation
Name (optional): __________________________________________
12 Nova Scotia Workplace Education Guide for Project Teams (Spring 2011) Step 3: Set goals Each member of the project team will have ideas about what the Workplace Education program should achieve. Writing goals can bring all the different opinions together. Goals will focus the team’s attention on common, agreed-upon ways to meet the needs identified in the organizational needs assessment.
For example, based on the needs assessment, the project team might decide on the following goals and objectives.
Goal: Develop a learning culture within the organization