ABC Life Literacy Canada celebrates Essential Skills Day with launch of UP Skills for Work program to teach key employability skills

(Toronto, ON – September 22, 2017) Today is Essential Skills Day in Canada, which raises awareness about the importance of workplace training and the essential skills that lay the foundation for learning all other skills. To mark the day, ABC Life Literacy Canada is proud to announce the launch of UP Skills for Work, a new program designed to help learners develop the key employability skills they need to be adaptable and motivated through all phases of their employment and as they move into new roles or careers. The UP Skills for Work program prepares learners with soft skills and increases their confidence to navigate complex challenges and handle the rapid pace of change in today’s labour market.

UP Skills for Work was developed with the support of founding sponsor Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life and focuses on nine employability skills (Motivation, Attitude, Accountability, Presentation, Teamwork, Time Management, Adaptability, Stress Management and Confidence) as identified by Futureworx, a Canadian non-profit at the forefront of developing soft-skills programming. The first three workbooks on the topics of Motivation, Attitude and Accountability have been released to organizations hosting workshops and are available for free download at Three additional workbooks will be released each year for the next two years.

“Soft skills are foundational for a healthy work-life balance and for resilient, effective workers,” said Mack Rogers, Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada. “With factors like automation and the gig economy on the rise, there is more need than ever for soft skills training. UP Skills for Work is a direct response to that.”

Employability skills help employees adapt to new technology or information, problem-solve, work in teams or with customers, and handle stress and setbacks. In a 2014 survey of major Canadian employers, the Business Council of Canada found that hiring managers look for entry-level candidates with strong soft skills, while they expect them to learn technical skills on the job.

“As a longtime supporter of ABC Life Literacy Canada, our organization believes that important training such as UP Skills for Work will help build stronger communities by helping some of the most vulnerable in our society,” said Debbie Down, Manager, Community Relations, Great-West Life. “When people have access to employability skills training, they can become better equipped to begin and build successful careers.”

UP Skills for Work workshops will be running in community learning centres and workplaces across the country. For more information, or to sign up to host a workshop, visit


About ABC Life Literacy Canada

ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization that inspires Canadians to increase their literacy and essential skills. We mobilize business, government and communities to support lifelong learning and achieve our goals through leadership in programs, communications and partnerships. We envision a Canada where everyone has the skills they need to live a fully engaged life. For the latest news and information on adult literacy please visit, follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook page.

About Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life

Great-West Life, together with London Life and Canada Life, offers a broad portfolio of financial and benefit plan solutions, and serves the financial security needs of more than 13 million people across Canada.

As an Imagine Caring Company, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life donate a minimum of one per cent of average pre-tax profits to non-profit, charitable and community organizations each year.

For more information, please contact:

Milena Stanoeva
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
ABC Life Literacy Canada
416-218-0010 ext. 122

Tim Oracheski
Director, Media and Public Relations
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life