The Benefits

The benefits of workplace Essential Skills training are measurable and significant.

  • For every 1% increase in literacy skills, productivity increases 2.5%, which leads to a 1.5% permanent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For Manitoba, this translates to over $500 million more per year. For workers, this means more choices in the labour market, while for business and the government, this means being able to better compete in local, national and international markets. The value of these benefits is estimated to be three times higher than the investment made in improving workplace Essential Skills (Public Investment in Skills: Are Canadian Governments Doing Enough?, C.D. Howe Institute, 2005).
  • Also from this study "...raising the skills level of people who have left the school system should not be neglected. Policy incentives for job-related training and lifelong learning, particularly measures targeted at people with very low skills, would likely generate substantial economic rewards."
  • A recent study performed for the Manitoba government has estimated that the cost for raising all adult Manitobans to a Level 3 for reading text, (i.e. just that one workplace Essential Skill alone), would be $191 M. This would result in a $365 million tax revenue increase or, in other words, a rate of return of 191% on that investment. (Measuring and Monitoring Literacy: What the data imply for policy in Manitoba, DataAngel Policy Research)

In addition to the “hard” business benefits, increasing workplace Essential Skills levels often results in important “soft” benefits too.

Employers have found increased participation, improved morale, enhanced worker engagement and improved team performance after workplace Essential Skills training – positive for businesses and workers alike, (Building Essential Skills in the Workplace, written by The Conference Board of Canada, published by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2005).

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