printing press

Printing company sees success with workplace training program

Canada’s largest printer of hardcover books is one of the latest companies jumping at the opportunity to upgrade their employees’ skills. Friesens Corporation, based in Altona, Manitoba, was one of 15 workplaces across the country to take part in a workplace delivery pilot of UP Skills for Work, a free program from ABC Life Literacy Canada that trains workers on nine important soft skills.

As workplaces rapidly become more automated, soft skills training has never been more important. According to a study by CareerBuilder, 77% of employers now believe that soft skills are equally as important as “hard” or “technical” skills in the work environment. When jobs become automated, employees will need to adapt to the changing workforce by advancing their social skills, emotional intelligence and cognitive capabilities. Because of this, demand for soft skills like presentation, teamwork, stress management and adaptability will also change how companies educate, train and assess their workforce.

Friesens chose a select group of workers from their manufacturing team to take part in their first workshop, which focused on three of the nine important soft skills: Accountability, Teamwork and Time Management. Months later, they’re still seeing the benefits from the workshop, which was facilitated by Opportunities for Employment.

UP Skills for Work helped us fill a gap to improve important soft skills, particularly among manufacturing staff, that help us better meet our customers’ needs,” says Dana Bergman, Friesens’ Staff Development Leader. “Participants learned to think more about how their behaviour affects others, and they learned what they can do to be positive role models at work in regards to their accountability, time management, and teamwork skills.”

Employers who provide soft skills training have seen a positive impact on productivity, profit margins and their employees. Bergman says Friesens has always had a high level of employee engagement, and points to the company’s longstanding commitment to a continuous improvement culture as the reason for this.

“Friesens uses a variety of training tools across our company to enhance our employees’ experience,” said Bergman. “There is no shortage of staff looking to improve their skills.”

Because of the pilot program’s success, Bergman hopes to continue to deliver more UP Skills for Work soft skills training to her team at Friesens over the next years. The six additional skills offered through the program include Motivation, Attitude, Presentation, Adaptability, Stress Management, and Confidence.

To learn more about UP Skills for Work, to download the free workbooks or to book a workshop, please visit