Language assessment and training

Even if you have the basic communication skills in English, these skills may not be strong enough for you to work in your preferred occupation.

In Alberta, you must be able to speak, read and write well in English to get a job in a skilled occupation, or in a regulated occupation or trade. If English is not your first language, you may need to take classes to improve your English language skills to convince employers that you:

  • understand work-related language
  • are a good candidate for job opportunities

Assessing your English language skills

You can demonstrate your English language skills by:

  • taking part in an interview
  • submitting the results of an English language proficiency test

There are several different examinations and tests that can assess your English language proficiency. Different professional regulatory organizations and professional associations, as well as the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), may use different tools. Find out which one is accepted before you take a language assessment.

In Alberta, language assessment centres in Edmonton and Calgary offer language assessments, information and referrals to ESL programs. These two assessment centres also have information about ESL courses in Edmonton, Calgary and a number of smaller cities.

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Improving your English

There are different types of English language training available. Once you get your English language skills assessed, find out what training will best meet your needs. You can improve your English by:

  • taking language classes
  • looking for bridging programs that offer both language training and work experience

Learn more about English Language Training, including how to:

  • make an appointment in Edmonton or Calgary
  • take an ESL course

Visit the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks for a list of language assessment services in Alberta.

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Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

If you are a permanent resident, you can take Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes at no cost. LINC is funded by the Government of Canada and offers:

  • classes that teach literacy and language
  • classes based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)
  • general language classes at basic, intermediate and advanced levels
  • full-time or part-time classes during the day, evening or on weekends
  • classes that teach advanced and job-specific language skills to help you succeed in the workplace

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English as a Second Language (ESL)

Many schools and agencies offer English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. ESL is English language training for people whose first language is not English. Training is designed to help you learn basic to advanced reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

Classes may be offered on a full-time (five hours a day) or part-time basis.

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English for employment: occupational language training

You may already have excellent English skills and can communicate well in everyday life. However, your occupation may use very specific language and technical terminology. To get work in Alberta, you will also have to know this terminology. In specific occupations, there may be operating manuals or specific codes that you must know and understand. For example, architects must know how to interpret provincial building codes and technical drawings.

Occupational language training is specific to a particular occupation. It goes beyond basic language training and may include technical terminology. The professional regulatory organization or professional association for your occupation can tell you the English language requirements of your occupation. It may also provide occupational language training. If it doesn't, you may want to consider ESL training available through Work Foundations

Work Foundations' ESL programs, funded by the Government of Alberta, are designed to help you:

  • improve your English skills
  • integrate into your community more quickly
  • enhance your employment prospects and opportunities
  • convince employers that you understand work-related language

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