A diverse group of students of the training skills development program at the library

Workplace Essential Skills and Training

  • Program Length 
    2 Years
  • Credential 

Finding a job and applying your skills to do it well are a few factors that can lead to greater independence and a sense of satisfaction in your life. Adults with barriers to finding and maintaining employment, such as developmental or cognitive disabilities, can benefit from specialized training that prepares them for the work force.  

VIU’s Workplace Essential Skills and Training program helps students get ready for and find meaningful employment. Through learning personal, interpersonal and employment skills students will enter the workforce confident and prepared. The non-credit certificate program consists of 33 courses and 6 practicums over a two-year span.


The Workplace Essential Skills and Training Certificate Program

The program is specifically designed for neurodiverse students with developmental and cognitive disabilities, and is designed to assist students' development with the personal, interpersonal, and employment skills required to obtain and maintain employment. The overarching program goal is for students to gain the skills necessary to foster personal growth and independence.

The full non-credit certificate program is comprised of 6 modules (33 courses and 6 practicums), and will be delivered over two years. Students will also obtain a statement of completion after completing each module. Students can also take longer than two years to complete the program if they are unable to enroll into the six modules within the two-year time frame.

Student learning will be evaluated in each course. Students are expected to be able to demonstrate, at the very least, an acceptable level of competence (50% or greater), for identified course objectives. Competencies will be measured and graded through the use of a variety of evaluation tools (i.e. assignments, group work, tests, role-plays and demonstrations, work habits, participation, etc). Grades (both letter and numerical), will identify levels of competency as per VIU's grading scale.

Every Module is 11 weeks long and upon successful completion, students are awarded a Module Statement of Completion.

Year 1

Module 1 - Workplace Foundations* (Fall Session - September)

WPFD 001 - (Personal Development Skills)

WPFD 002 - (Attitudes on the Job)

WPFD 003 - (Workplace Safety)

WPFD 004 - (Introduction to Computers: Internet, Email & Social Networking)

WPFD 005 - (Student Success)

WPFD 006 - (Workplace Foundations Practicum)

Module 2 - Customer Service* (Spring Session - January)

CUSV 001 - (Problem Solving Seminar)

CUSV 002 - (Employment Standards & Human Rights)

CUSV 003 - (Numeracy Applications)

CUSV 004 - (Workplace Communication)

CUSV 005 - (World Host)

CUSV 006 - (Introduction to MS Word)

CUSV 007 - (Customer Service Practicum)

Module 3 - Retail & Food Services* (Intersession – April)

REFS 001 - (Retail Math)

REFS 002 - (Food Safety: Food Safe)

REFS 003 - (World Citizens: Food Issues)

REFS 004 - (Food Service Skills Application)

REFS 005 - (Advanced Word)

REFS 006 - (Retail and Food Services Seminar)

REFS 007 - (Retail and Food Services Practicum)

Year 2

Module 4 - Transition to Independence** (Fall Session –September)

TRIN 001 - (Serving It Right)

TRIN 002 - (Workplace Documents)

TRIN 003 - (Workplace Reading)

TRIN 004 - (Workplace Writing)

TRIN 005 - (Intro to PowerPoint)

TRIN 006 - (Workplace Literacy Seminar)

TRIN 007 - (Transition to Independence Practicum)

Module 5 - Community Connections** (Spring Session - January)

CMCN 001 - (Building Support Systems)

CMCN 002 - (Math for Independence)

CMCN 003 - (Next Steps: Transitional Planning)

CMCN 004 - (Becoming a Citizen of the World)

CMCN 005 - (Computers: Community Research)

CMCN 006 - (Community Connections Seminar)

CMCN 007 - (Community Connections Practicum)

Module 6 - Skills for Independence**

SKIP 001 - (Linking Learning to Life)

SKIP 002 - (Strategies For Employment)

SKIP 003 - (Living On Your Own)

SKIP 004 - (Intro to Excel/Database)

SKIP 005 - (Skills for Independence Practicum)


The program is designed for neurodiverse students with developmental and cognitive disabilities who are committed to learning and enhancing their skills. Admission to the program requires the following requirements:

  • High school graduation or completion certificate; or
  • Minimum 17 years of age and out of high school for at least one year.

In addition, students must also meet the following criteria:

  • Diagnosis or history that identifies a difficulty with learning or a documented disability.
  • Ability to attend classroom and practicum independently.
  • Demonstrate the skills to perform program related tasks with strength and endurance.

Notes on Admission

A criminal record check may be required for some modules. An interview will be required to ensure suitability for entrance into the program.

Customer Service, Retail, Hospitality, Food Industry, Senior Care, and Child Care.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees - Per Module (Modules 1-6) Nanaimo Campus


Tuition (264 contact hours x $4.71 per contact hour)


Student Services fee (3.50)


Student Activity fee (3.50)


VIU Students' Union fee (4 months x $26.59 per month)


Textbooks/Supplies (approximate cost per module)


Uniform (one-time purchase)




Fees - Per Module (Modules 1-6) Cowichan Campus


Tuition (264 contact hours x $4.71 per contact hour)


Student Services fee (3.50)


Student Activity fee (3.50)


VIU Students' Union fee (4 months x $17.68 per month)


Textbooks/Supplies (approximate cost per module)


Uniform (one-time purchase)





All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Further information on this program can be found on the Department website.

Previous versions of this program can be found in the Program Archive.