The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks has been involved with language experts in Canada in developing processes for identifying the language required to work in certain professions. This work, originated in Manitoba at Red River College, but is now also done by other CLB experts across the country. This process has been called "benchmarking". Identifying language required to perform a job helps immigrants who have English as a second language and employers know what levels they need to have in order to perform their work safely and efficiently.
It involves doing a needs assessment of an occupation and usually includes:
- observations and interviews with employees, management, and the union representatives in some organizations
- analysis of authentic documents used on the job
- analysis of communication tasks done in a variety of locations and situations by employees in the same occupation, usually done in several regions across Canada
The first occupation to be benchmarked nationally was the nursing profession:
Benchmarking the English Language Demands of the Nursing Profession
A second method has been developed by the Centre to identify language levels in various occupations. The result is called an Occupational Language Analysis (OLA). An OLA identifies the language skills required to perform in a job based on the Essential Skill Profile and the National Occupational Standard (developed by a sector council).
For more information on benchmarking or OLAs, contact the Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org .