A happy young woman reads a technical manual in a library.Essential Skills Upgrading (ESU) is the employment-focused, adult upgrading program of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). We are a program of the WRDSB’s Alternative and Continuing Education division.  Scroll down to see our Mission, Vision and Values.

Our name, Essential Skills Upgrading, refers to the “Nine Essential Skills for work, learning and life” identified by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Visit ESDC’s Literacy and Essential Skills website or the Ontario Skills Passport website for more information about these Essential Skills.

As an Employment Ontario “Literacy and Basic Skills” program, we receive funding through Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and through the Canada-Ontario Job Fund.  We are also a part of the larger Employment Ontario family which includes Employment Services.  Visit the Employment Ontario Service Search site to find other Employment Ontario services close to you.

We are a member of the Project READ Literacy Network of Waterloo-Wellington, which includes other Waterloo Region organizations:

ESU’s Mission

ESU delivers an employment-focused upgrading program that gives adults an opportunity to build the essential skills necessary to engage in the community and the changing world of work.

ESU’s Vision

ESU will play a key role in creating a place where everyone has the skills and opportunity to participate in the community and to find work they value.

ESU’s Values

Commitment and Accountability
We value commitment and accountability to our learners, our facilitators, our Board, and our community.

We respect individual learners and provide a safe and supportive learning environment to meet their specific needs.

Working Together
We value open communication and partnering as key tools in working together to achieve goals.

We recognize, value, and support different styles of learning.

Lifelong Learning
We value lifelong learning and helping each other set and reach goals.

We value relationships that are rooted in trust.
We strive to work in a way that reflects our values.