Looking Back: Enhanced Language Training

It all started with one instructor and one class in early 2004.

Picture1Recognizing the need for higher level language skills, a new initiative – Enhanced Language Training – began to develop high level workplace-specific language classes. The first class was Communication for Work and Business, a 12-week course focusing on workplace communication skills. Seventeen newcomers, in professions ranging from meteorology to photography to engineering, learned skills like small talk, networking, public speaking, writing emails, and customer service. They also learned about Canadian workplace culture and how it differed from their home countries. From this class, the first curriculum was developed, a 344 page textbook that is still used today, both at ISANS and across the country.

The success of this program led to the development of more focused classes. In the next few years, ISANS created programs for healthcare and engineering professionals. These “sector-specific” programs addressed the special needs of these professions. Internationally-educated healthcare professionals, for example, may not understand the term “miner’s lung” for lung disease or “run down” for not feeling well. Likewise, engineers may not be able to express 90° or 1300 ft2 in spoken English. These classes give professionals the ability to speak the real language they need for their job. Guest speakers and site visits give the learners exposure to the workplace culture in their fields, as well as the chance to network and practice the English they are learning. The success of these classes has been acknowledged by Engineers Nova Scotia and the completion of the engineering class is recognized as 3 months of the 1-year Canadian work experience required for licensure.

By 2007, with a clear vision to the future, ISANS began experimenting with online classes, on topics like workplace writing, pronunciation, and soft skills. These have proven immensely successful and nowadays there are 8 fulltime teachers and 18 different workplace communication skills classes, both onsite and online, offered at ISANS. Recognized as leaders in the field, the Labour Market Language team offers these programs to over 600 newcomers annually.

More information about our Labour Market Language classes.

More information about our Labour Market Language curricula.