Northern Adult Basic Education (NABE) Program

 

The Northern Adult Basic Education Program (NABEP) addresses the unique challenges faced by Northerners and to ensure that they have improved access to training and are better positioned to participate in the labour market. This Program will prepare working age adults to either enter the workforce directly, or to take vocational training before entering the workforce.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Northerners, including Aboriginal people, enjoy the same education opportunities and ability to participate in the labour market as other Canadians. This initiative supports northern economic development by raising the basic skill levels of work age, local residents. The Program will help to ensure that more Northerners can apply for local jobs or take further vocational training. The NABEP will build capacity in the territories to offer increased adult basic education, which will help public and private employers hire locally.

Beginning in 2011-12, the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, is investing $27 million over five years to expand adult basic education in the territories. Funding will be provided to territorial colleges to improve their adult basic education (ABE) services and to leverage investments made under other existing federal programs. The funding will be distributed based on each territory's adult basic education needs, and calculated according to each territory's share of working age Northerners lacking a grade 12 education.

Programming will be delivered through the territorial colleges namely:  Aurora College, Yukon College and Nunavut Arctic College. The colleges already offer a spectrum of courses across many remote communities. This targeted investment seeks to increase the permanent capacity in the territories to respond to the needs of adult students over the longer term.

Colleges can use this investment to build capacity by increasing the number of instructors, improving educational materials, increasing capacity to assess student needs, and increasing the number, frequency and locations of course offerings. Expanded services and programs in adult basic education are expected to begin over the coming year.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is adult basic education (ABE)?

For the purposes of the Northern Adult Basic Education Program (NABEP), adult basic education includes the education activities that assist adults in achieving sufficient levels of literacy, numeracy and other essential skills to obtain a job or benefit from occupational training.

2. How is the funding being allocated in each territory?

Funding will be provided to territorial colleges, and will be directed to territories according to need.

The funding will be distributed based on each territory's adult basic education needs, and calculated according to each territory's share of working age Northerners lacking grade 12 education, as follows:

  • Nunavut – 44.5%
  • NWT – 37.1%
  • Yukon – 18.4%
3. Why is the new Northern Adult Basic Education Program targeting only the population of the three territories and not the entire Canadian Aboriginal population?

The new Northern Adult Basic Education Program has been developed to address the unique challenges faced by Northerners and to ensure that they have improved access to training and are better prepared to participate in the labour market.

The labour skills gap is more pronounced in the territories than in the rest of the country and there are fewer educational opportunities for adults in the North. Across the territories 17,000 working-age Northerners have not completed Grade 12.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Northerners, including Aboriginal people, enjoy the same education opportunities and ability to participate in the labour market as other Canadians.

CanNor will work with partners to share successful approaches, so that they can be applied in other regions.

4. Who can apply for the new Northern Adult Basic Education Program courses?

Colleges can apply to the Program for funding, as territorial educational institutions that have legal authority to provide accredited adult basic education services.

Resulting new college courses or additional availability of existing courses will be available to adult residents no longer able to access high school programs in their territory, through the regular college registration system.

5. What can the colleges use the funds for?

Use of funds includes, but is not limited to:

  • additional times, duration, or locations for ABE courses;
  • increasing the number, or training, of adult educators, including Aboriginal educators
  • supporting partnerships among colleges; and between colleges and others including territorial governments and other service providers;
  • the development of culturally or industry-appropriate ABE materials;
  • strengthening capacity to provide assessments of prior learning; and
  • disability supports.
6. Exactly what kind of education or courses will become available as a result of through this Program?

The NABEP will help territorial colleges increase their capacity to offer courses to improve adult basic literacy and numeracy. Colleges already offer some basic adult education courses.  The new Program is intended to help them build capacity by increasing the number of instructors, improving educational materials, increasing capacity to assess student needs; and increasing the number, frequency and locations of course offerings.

The colleges will develop proposals for how best to use the funding to increase their adult basic education capacity in their own jurisdictions.  Details on specific plans are available from the colleges based on the first round of applications and agreements that are in place.

7. When will the colleges start offering these courses?

Expanded services and programs in adult basic education are expected to begin over the coming year.

The colleges already offer a spectrum of courses in adult basic education, vocational training, and specific skills training that is intended to help Northerners improve their ability to participate in the labour market, and get jobs.

8. How does this Program contribute to economic development in the North?

This initiative supports northern economic development by raising the basic skill levels of working age, local residents. The Program will help to ensure that more Northerners can apply for local jobs or take further vocational training.  It will build capacity in the territories to offer increased adult basic education, which will help public and private employers hire locally.

The northern public sector is experiencing significant shortages of skilled labour, particularly with respect to Aboriginal recruitment.  Resource industries are expanding in the North and require more skilled labour and when they must recruit or rotationally fly people from the south, face increased costs for transporting and housing staff. Small service-oriented local businesses find their ability to respond to the growth around them hampered by skills shortages and wage competition from larger employers.  This program will help to improve shortages of skilled labour in local northern communities.


Contact us

Michael Bloor
Acting Director General, Operations
Whitehorse
867-667-3310