How to Increase the Essential Skills Levels of Apprentices, Part 1

Typically, 30 to 50% of apprentices have Level 3 Essential Skills. At this level, apprentices are becoming independent learners and can explain what they are having difficulty with, but they are still struggling with some technical training material. They need help with strategies for organizing material from different sources and need extra practice with trade applications. Technical instructors can teach learning strategies to help apprentices strengthen the skills they need to pass technical training.

Improving reading and document use skills

  • Provide apprentices with practice using various documents and integrating information from multiple sources

Apprentices need to locate information from several sources, such as two or more documents or different parts of the same document, to get the information they need to complete a task in technical training. Instructors can teach apprentices how to highlight information in the sources so that the information is easier to locate. Apprentices also need strategies on how to take notes or summarize key ideas from readings in textbooks.

  • Assist them with summarizing and organizing information so that they can use this new information in a different way

A task may require apprentices to find information about a tool from two different documents and make a decision about the best tool for a specific job. To complete the task, apprentices need to establish criteria and eliminate information. Instructors can show them strategies such as creating a table to compare information about the tool.

Advantages to using this tool Disadvantages to using this tool
•    Advantage 1
•    Advantage 2
•    Disadvantage 1
•    Disadvantage 2

Improving numeracy skills

  • Provide them with practice translating a problem into a series of math operations

Instructors can teach apprentices a strategy to complete numeracy tasks. The strategy should provide them with practice choosing a method to make a calculation (calculate weight, for example), and choosing the operation to complete the calculation.

Apprentices with Level 3 Essential Skills are becoming independent learners, but would benefit from learning strategies to help them deal with information from multiple sources. Instructors can incorporate teaching these strategies during technical training and increase the chances of success for these apprentices.

Next week: How to Increase the Essential Skills Levels of Apprentices, Part 2

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