Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Employment counsellors provide assistance, counsel and information to worker clients on all aspects of employment search and career planning. They also provide counsel and information to employer clients regarding human resource and employment issues. Employment counsellors are employed primarily by federal and provincial governments but are also employed by large establishments and private employment service agencies. Supervisors of employment counsellors are included in this unit group.
- Encounter employers and employees with cultural, race, religious and sexual orientation biases. For example, employment specialists may encounter employers who hire exclusively from particular cultural groups. They discuss the observed behaviours and complaints with employers and suggest solutions such as cultural diversity training for employees. They may suggest no longer using employers for job placements if hiring practices and workplace environments fail to improve. (2)
- Find that workshop participants do not have the prerequisite skills, goals and abilities. For example, employment counsellors find workshop participants are unable to complete activities because of language barriers and limited interpersonal skills. When possible, they adapt workshop activities for those individuals and reiterate participation expectations. They may recommend changes to intake procedures for future training events to ensure that participants are suitable. (3)
- May experience lower than expected enrolment in training sessions and programs. For example, supervisors for employment services may experience declines in the numbers of requests for consulting services and employment programs and services. They review current outreach activities and training events and compare them to similar programs. They may change locations, times, materials and their communications in order to serve their clients better. (3)
- Encounter clients who have unrealistic wage and career expectations. For example, employment counsellors may find immigrants who expect to work in jobs similar to those they held in their countries of origin. The counsellors review licensing, certification and language requirements to help clients modify their immediate expectations and develop long-term career plans. (3)
- Choose assessment methods and tools. For example, employment specialists select assessment tests and questionnaires to determine clients' interests, aptitudes, skills and abilities. They consider clients' ages, work histories, career goals, education attainments and self-awareness. (2)
- May choose suppliers and service providers. For example, career development counsellors may choose alternative locations for workshops and presentations when the customary facilities are unavailable. They consider costs, locations, features, and sizes of rooms. When choosing consultants, supervisors of employment services consider their fees, expertise, suitability and past performances. (3)
- Choose training activities and counselling methods to meet the needs of clients. For example, employment counsellors modify career plans and employment strategies as clients meet their career goals. Vocational counsellors may choose to offer fewer services and interventions to clients with exceptional skills and more to those with less. They may share decision making with their supervisors, others who provide service to clients and the clients themselves. (3)
- May decide to bid on and undertake projects, programs and speaking opportunities. For example, employment counsellors decide to accept requests to make presentations after considering their schedules, clients' expectations and payments offered for services. (3)
- May select candidates for employment and counselling programs, courses and workshops. For example, supervisors of employment services accept clients into programs. They consider eligibility criteria, clients' barriers to employment and services provided by programs. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Assess the effectiveness of workshops and employment programs. They review comments on workshop and program evaluation forms completed by participants and analyze statistics for job placements and job maintenance. They may observe clients' skill levels during mock interviews and other job readiness activities. They use these assessments to adjust training and other employment activities. (2)
- Evaluate the suitability of job postings and career choices for their clients. For example, employment counsellors review statistics to assess opportunities and growth rates for occupations. They also consider the interests, skills and aptitudes, educational backgrounds, employment histories, retraining requirements and finances of clients. When evaluating the suitability of jobs, they compare clients' skills, abilities and education achievements to job requirements. (3)
- May assess clients' readiness for employment. They observe clients' behaviour during interviews and counselling sessions. They read clients résumés to determine average lengths and types of employment held in the past. They administer and interpret tests to evaluate clients' academic and technical skill levels, aptitudes and interests. They interview them to learn about their personal situations. They use these evaluations to determine what assistance and services to recommend to clients. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Employment counsellors receive their work assignments from their supervisors but they are responsible for setting priorities and sequencing job tasks. They integrate their activities with co-workers and colleagues to streamline services and maximize the use of resources. Employment counsellors adjust their schedules when clients miss appointments and fail to show up for workshops.
Planning and Organizing for Others
Supervisors of employment services may provide input into the long-term planning of their organizations. They may plan and schedule job tasks for other employment counsellors.
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember the names and personal information of clients to build trust and enhance communications.
- Remember the types of services offered and target groups served by various community and social service agencies and organizations.
- Find information about programs and services in their communities by speaking to co-workers and colleagues, through reading program brochures and information packages and by conducting research. (2)
- Find information on labour markets. They reading national and community newspapers, labour market and economic reports and industry trade publications. They monitor job postings in newspapers and at Internet sites. They discuss job opportunities and employment trends with colleagues, co-workers and employers. (2)
- Find information about clients. They conduct interviews with clients, review their résumés, give them tests and assessments and observe them during workshops and job placements. They may speak to co-workers and other community and health providers involved with clients. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Employment counsellors complete most job tasks independently but they may coordinate their work with co-workers when it is necessary. They work independently when giving presentations, conducting research, meeting clients and creating action plans. They may coordinate job tasks with co-workers and other community and health service providers in order to share information about clients and organize services for them.
In community and social services organizations and other public institutions such as prisons and rehabilitation centres, they work as part of interdisciplinary teams. They coordinate their work to assess clients' needs, determine assistance and supports, and to organize training and other services for clients. (3)
Employment counsellors maintain current knowledge about labour market trends, employment opportunities and social services in their communities. They learn by reading newspapers, professional associations' newsletters, textbooks and training guides, conducting Internet research and speaking to co-workers and colleagues. They attend seminars, workshops and conferences hosted by professional associations such as the Life Skills Association and the Canadian Career Association. (3)