From essential skills to accounting success for Surrey student

Tue, Sep 15, 2015

Surrey, B.C. – When Tejinder Sidhu received her acceptance letter into Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) School of Business, she was thrilled.

But in order to complete her diploma of accounting – which included an English course – the Surrey resident knew she would need to upgrade her English and complete several prerequisite courses.

“I was nervous about my writing and grammar,” said Sidhu, who was ready to dive into accounting right away. She registered for a couple of accounting courses and one of her English prerequisites through the Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement (ACA) at KPU.

As soon as she began practicing sentence structure, comma splices, fused sentences and articles, she noticed her writing improve.

“These courses not only develop one’s writing, but also give confidence on how to analyze the particular topic,” said Sidhu. “I feel happy and proud of myself that I had joined this course. I can write and converse better than before.”

Reading, writing and oral communication are among the nine skills the Canadian government deems essential to success in the workplace. At KPU, the Faculty of ACA ensures all learners receive the essential skills training they need to succeed in the classroom and on the job. In the weeks leading up to Essential Skills day on Sept. 25, the faculty will celebrate the successes of students like Sidhu, and promote the programming the university offers to foster such success.

“These essential skills are really an umbrella over all that we do in ACA and at KPU as we stimulate and facilitate learning with our students. We want them to be intentional about their learning and to find multiple ways to develop the skills and experiences that will make them top choice for B.C. employers,” said Patrick Donahoe, dean of ACA. “I love to watch student self-confidence grow as they make the connection between learning here, a work life beyond university and service to the community.”

Promoting and developing essential skills isn’t exclusive to ACA: this month, the Faculty of Arts will host a speaker on the topic at its annual Explore Arts event, and the Wilson School of Design’s Designapalooza back-to-school event will also incorporate essential skills.

The sixth annual Essential Skills Day is Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The event was created by Life Literacy Canada to raise awareness about the importance of workplace literacy and essential skills training. The nine essential skills – reading, writing, numeracy, thinking, document use, oral communication, teamwork, computer use, continuous learning – form the basic foundation for finding success in the workplace and society.

The Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement at KPU focuses on delivering programming that helps all learners master these skills and more, before pursuing additional post-secondary education, or careers in the workforce. For more information, visit

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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