Surrey student turns essential skills into life success

Tue, Sep 15, 2015

Surrey, B.C. – “I was so nervous to attend university,” explains recent Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) graduate Leanne Hall. “But KPU helped to break me out of my shy shell.”

Less of a break, and more of an explosion of success: despite any nerves or hesitations she may have had at the start, the Surrey resident graduated last spring as the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, which recognizes students who excel in their studies, and who contribute to university and community life.

“My self-confidence grew; I made many life-long friends and became an active member of my community. It’s like my life opened up,” said Hall.

Hall first enrolled in one of KPU’s access programs for people with disabilities (APPD), followed by the Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement's (ACA) family childcare program, and additional vocational skills training in childcare aide. Having realized through work experience that working with children was her calling, Hall now works part-time in a daycare facility where she continues to learn on the job. She also serves as chair of the Surrey APPD Alumni Group.

Continuous learning and teamwork 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 Hall, 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

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Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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