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Employment & Training Programs and Services

Published Date: August 01, 2011
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Work Foundations

Basic Skills Training


Income and Employment Supports Act, Part 3 Section 20
Income Supports, Training and Health Benefits Regulation
Training Provider Regulation, Section 2


Basic Skills Training is a program element in the Work Foundations program.  Basic Skills Training programs are designed to assist unemployed or marginally employed adult Albertans to develop the basic competencies needed to obtain employment and/or to pursue further employment-related training.

The objectives of Basic Skills Training are to enable unemployed or marginally employed adults to acquire:

  • literacy, numeracy, and employability skills necessary to function in entry-level employment or acquire the prerequisites for further employment-related training, and
  • competencies at the Grade 7-9 levels.


Eligible Individuals Specific to Basic Skills Training


  • may have a limited range of academic competencies and related certificates,
  • may be facing a variety of barriers that have previously affected their schooling, learning opportunities, attachment to the labour market, and vocational skills development,
  • may require employability and/or essential skills training, and
  • may lack job experience or appropriate training.

For more information on individual eligibility, see Eligible Individuals – General.

Employment Insurance (EI) Reporting Instructions

Instructions outlining the required procedure for EI eligible learners/training participants to complete their EI reporting process can be accessed through the Tools section of the Manual. 

Program Components

Basic Skills Training has three components:

  • Literacy and Numeracy (Grades 1-6)
  • Adult basic education (Grades 7-9)
  • Life Skills/Personal Management.

Literacy and Numeracy
is training at the Grade 1-6 levels.

Adult Basic Education is training that assists individuals to develop competencies at the Grade 7-9 levels.

Life Skills/Personal Management is training that enables the individual to develop the employability skills needed for employment. It includes personal management skills, life management skills, career and employment exploration and basic academics.

Literacy and Numeracy and Adult Basic Education courses must not be used to enhance an individual's ESL level.

Recognized Credential

All Basic Skills Training must result in a recognized certificate and be offered by a recognized public institution or certified private provider. The individual is supported to develop competencies up to and including the Grade 9 levels in order to achieve sustainable employment and/or pursue further employment-related training.

Methods of Delivery

Basic Skills Training programs may be delivered to Government of Alberta learners by classroom delivery, synchronous e-learning delivery and distance (other than e-learning) delivery.  Distance learning is normally eligible only for Training Benefits.


Basic Skills Training is provided on both a full-time and part-time basis. Full-time is defined as not less than 20 hours per week.

Eligible individuals may receive up to 20 months in the Basic Skills Learning Stream. Individuals may be eligible for an addition 10 months in this learning stream if they are assessed as functioning at the primary level (Grades 1-3). See Duration policy.

Work Experience

Individuals (both full-time and part-time) in Basic Skills Training programs may include one work experience course in their programs if the intention is to move directly to employment upon completion of Basic Skills Training.

Work experience:

  • may be included as a third course in the final term of a Basic Skills Training program if the individual is intending to move to employment and this is confirmed by supporting documentation,
  • may be taken as a fourth course at any time, whether the individual is moving to employment or further training,
  • is restricted to one course only as part of Basic Skills Training,
  • is not used as a substitute for volunteer work,
  • includes both classroom instruction and one or more supervised worksite placements.

The need for a work experience course must be clearly identified in an individual’s Service Plan.

Prior to any work experience placement, the supervising instructor, individual and employer must agree to a learning plan identifying the expected learner outcomes and work activities in which the individual will be participating.

An individual participating in a work experience course is considered to be attending school while at the workplace and must abide by the training provider’s policies in addition to Government of Alberta policies.

Employers must not receive any compensation from training providers for providing work experience opportunities for individuals.

Procurement Method

Basic Skills Training programs are provided through contract-based or tuition-based training.