Basic Skills Training (BST)

Exciting things are happening to BST!

SARC is currently revamping the Basic Skills Training (BST) Program and will launch this new program in Fall 2019! 

The new BST program will see some exciting changes, including:

  • A new name!
  • A blended learning approach where learning will consist of both online and in-person components.  
  • A new home, as it will be hosted on a new online platform; making registering and tracking Learner progress quicker and easier for BST Tutors.
  • Revised and updated content to reflect best practices and language in the disability services sector.

Although some things will be new, some things will remain the same, such as:

  • Tutors will continue to support Learners and have administrative requirements for the program.
  • Modules will continue to be competency-based.
  • The hands-on demonstration of knowledge learned will continue to be an integral component of the program.

This updated program will still be considered the first step of a Direct Support Professional’s (DSP) career progression, and will provide important information on supporting people experiencing disability.

Typically, SARC hosts a Training for Tutors in December of each year. While we are revamping the program, we’d still like to offer this training, as long as there is enough interest expressed.  

If you’re curious about what the new BST program is going to look like, keep checking here, as updates will continue to be posted!


Basic Skills Training (BST) is a program designed to meet the needs of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the disability services sector in Saskatchewan. BST provides DSPs with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are necessary to promote choices, independence, and quality of life for the people they support.

BST provides essential in-house training, which reflects and promotes the values, attitudes, skills and best practices necessary to positively contribute to the life of a participant. 

The 8 Bands (modules) of BST are:

  • Introduction to People with Disabilities
  • Introduction to Services for People with Disabilities
  • Values and Attitudes
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Direct Support Professionals
  • Communication
  • Health, Safety and Emergencies
  • Supporting Participants Skill Development
  • Assisting Participant with Personal Care

The learner is assessed in two ways.  First, through written exams at the end of each band. Then the learner takes the information learned and applies it to their day to day work.  This is called the Attitude and Application assessment. 

Upon successful Completion of BST the learner receives a Certificate of Completion.



In order to have BST at your organization, you must have an in-house BST Tutor who is certified to teach BST. Tutors are taught the program at the Train-the-Tutor session hosted by SARC in Fall/Winter annually (See 'Tutor Training' Tab for more info). 

Unsure if you have a BST Tutor?  Inquire with us!



BST is often viewed as the first step in obtaining the Disability Support Worker (DSW) Certificate through Saskatchewan Polytechnic, as once you complete the BST program you will have earned the following three course credits for the DSW Program:

  • Professional Role.
  • Basic Care Skills.
  • Introduction to Disability Services.

SARC Administered Bursaries

You may be pleased to know that SARC also administers a Saskatchewan Polytechnic bursary program which may cover some of the costs associated for other courses in the Disability Support Worker Program. For more information, click here.


BST Train-the-Tutor

BST operates on a Train-the-Tutor format.  The Tutor attends training with SARC and then comes back to your organization and trains your employees.  This model allows you to save money as you train your staff right in your agency and don’t have the costs of travel or accomodations.



  • Choose an employee to be trained as a BST Tutor
  • The employee must attend a two-day training session held annually at the SARC Administration office in Saskatoon
  • The employee returns to the organization and teaches Learners (DSPs) the BST program at your own schedule and convenience
  • The employee will have access to Tutor support from SARC as well as access to hundreds of resources, templates, and helpful tips via the BST Tutors Only site on the SARC website

For more information on how you can train someone to be a BST Tutor at your Organization, please inquire here.

What are the benefits of BST?

  • It is made up of Saskatchewan specific training material tailored to employees in the disability services sector.
  • It builds employee knowledge that is based on choice, dignity, and respect for the individuals your organization supports.
  • It is a fact that education leads to higher retention of employees.
  • The program is skill based and hands-on and appeals to the various adult learning styles.
  • The evaluation components consist of written comprehension, application, attitude, and skill.
  • The training builds staff confidence and promotes success.
  • It is offered completely in-house.
  • The material can be augmented with information specific to your agency.
  • It is low cost when compared to similar training programs.
  • There are bursaries available (limitations apply) that cover the registration fees and materials.
  • Tutor support is available through SARC (website, learning resources, guidance).
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic grants three course credits in the Disability Support Worker Certificate Program.
  • BST was reviewed and updated to reflect the many changes and advancements that have occurred in the disability services sector over the past few years. This resulted in BST 4.0 launched October 21, 2013.

Pricing for each BST Learner is as follows:

SARC Members: $300

Other organizations: $375 plus GST

Pricing for BST Tutor Training is as follows:

SARC Members: $350 
Other organizations: $435 + GST 


Bursaries for Basic Skills Training Learners


SARC administers the BST Learner Bursary program which covers the tuition fees for the Basic Skills Training program. Bursary funds are provided annually and on a first come first served basis.  Once the fund is expended for the fiscal year, bursaries will not be available until the following fiscal year.  

BST Tutors must apply for the bursary for their learner(s), and this form must be submitted at the initial learner registration.  

Click here to access the BST Learner Bursary Application Form.


Bursaries for Basic Skills Training Tutors


Do you want to become a BST Tutor? SARC administers the BST Tutor Bursary program which covers the fees and materials for the BST Train the Tutor Workshop.  

BST Tutors must apply for the bursary at the same time that they register for BST Tutor Training. 

Tutor Training is held in Fall/Winter annually.

Related Programs

More Programs