Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
Ongoing Employee TrainingA CHALLENGE for the Public Education System

"Much remains to be done in Québec in order for businesses and their employees to truly consider ongoing training a strategic tool enabling them to adapt to a changing economy and job market", stated Conseil President Céline Saint-Pierre in releasing a brief on June 17 at a company in Ville Lasalle on the contribution of the public education system to ongoing employee training for businesses and other organizations.

Maintaining that the development of human resources is as crucial a factor in increasing competitiveness and productivity as using up-to-date equipment and technologies, Ms. Saint-Pierre urged organizations to realize that training can be profitable and can generate a return on their investment.


Employee training practices in businesses


A study of business practices related to ongoing training shows that worker participation in employer-sponsored activities is lower in Québec (one in five) than in the rest of Canada (one in four), and that Québec businesses invest less in training. The larger the business, the more formal training is offered, and training is more prevalent in the service sector.

High income earners with more education receive more employer-sponsored training; employees without secondary school diplomas are at a particular disadvantage. Training for specific adaptation to tasks remains predominant, and the categories of needs to which employers attribute the least importance concern basic, social and second language skills.

Half of all Québec small and medium-sized businesses have no human resources development plan at all. The commitment from both management and employees to organizing an ongoing training program based on a formal evaluation of needs is weak: only about 15 % of Québec firms use such a system.


The public education system's contribution


The Conseil supérieur de l’éducation believes that the public education system can make a significant contribution to developing ongoing employee training practices. Noting that employers tend to underutilize the services of institutions in the public sector, the Conseil encourages school boards, colleges and universities to focus more on the part of their mission that covers employee training needs.

The Conseil recommends that each institution define and promote the framework for its actions and its strategic aims. School boards are particularly encouraged to make businesses aware of the importance of basic education, since reading, writing and mathematical skills are necessary for the development of job-related skills.

The Conseil points out that the current context, which is favorable to partnerships, represents a golden opportunity for the public education system to work even more closely with companies, unions and local and regional employment organizations.

The Conseil also reiterates the need for school boards, colleges and universities to agree on ways to coordinate their respective activities. The competitiveness sometimes observed among public education institutions must give way to a policy of complementary services. The services offered by each institution should be determined based on the educational mission for its particular level and on the areas in which it has developed expertise.

Panorama • Volume 3, Number 3 • November 1998

Document complet - in French (PDF)


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