The legislation creating the Department of Advanced Education and Manpower was assented to on April 29, 1983. The new department integrated functions previously delivered by the Departments of Continuing Education, Labour, Industry and Commerce, and Culture and Youth. On May 5, 1983, the Department of Continuing Education was absorbed into the new department.
The new department's responsibilities included the coordination of federal-provincial cost-shared occupational training programs, such as Adult Basic Education and Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons; the registration of private vocational schools in the province; the administration of federal and provincial loan, scholarship and bursary programs; and the administration of grant payments to universities, community colleges, and other post-secondary institutions and agencies.
The department was also responsible for programs and services related to job placement, labour market research, vocational guidance, employment counselling and the apprenticeship and trade certification programs.
Many of the department's programs and services were aimed at increasing the employability of individuals and groups underrepresented in the labour market, such as women, youth, aboriginals, people with mental and physical handicaps, and residents of Northern Saskatchewan.
The department was presided over by a Minister and Deputy Minister and was originally organized into four divisions: Advanced Education; Manpower; Planning and Evaluation and Administrative and Financial Services. There was also a University Affairs Branch and Communications Branch.
The Advanced Education Division originally had four branches: Program Development and Standards; Occupational Training; Community Colleges and Northern. The division was also responsible for the Saskatchewan Skills Extension Program, technical institutes, and vocational centres. In August, 1984 the Institute Operations Branch was established to support and co-ordinate the delivery of technical/vocational training in the province. During the 1985-1986 year, the division assumed the responsibilities of the Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Branch and the Northern Branch became an independent division with responsibility for occupational training, financial services, program development, and funding for three northern community colleges.
The Manpower Division originally consisted of six branches: Labour Market Planning and Information; Apprenticeship and Trade Certification; Career Services; Native Services; Youth Services and Women's Services. During the 1983-1984 year, Career Services was transferred to the Community Colleges Branch. In 1984-1985, Labour Market Planning and Information moved to the Planning and Evaluation Division. The Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Branch moved to the Advanced Education Division in 1985-1986. The Manpower Division was transferred out of the department and to the Employment Development Agency in December, 1985 while the Women's Services Branch became part of the Women's Secretariat in April, 1986.
The Planning and Evaluation Division originally consisted of three branches; Policy, Planning and Evaluation; Management Information Systems and Human Resources. The Division was responsible for strategic planning, policy formulation, program evaluation, budgeting, management information systems and human resource development. During 1984-1985, the Management Information Systems Branch became the Information Resources Management Services Branch and the Labour Market Planning and Information Branch was created. The Human Resources Branch became an independent division through an amalgamation of personnel services for the Departments of Advanced Education and Manpower, Education and the Saskatchewan Library.
The Administrative and Financial Services Division originally included the following branches: Administrative Services; Financial Planning and Student Financial Services. The branches were responsible for departmental budget preparation, office services, and administering grant payments and financial assistance programs.
The University Affairs Branch assumed the responsibilities of the Saskatchewan Universities Commission in August, 1983. The branch was responsible for the financing and overall development of the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan and all federated and affiliated colleges.
The Communications Branch promoted departmental activities and informed the general public, news media, and other organizations and individuals of the department's programs and policies through news releases, annual reports, speeches, audio/visual materials and paid advertising.
Significant movement of programs within branches occurred during the department's existence.
On April 1, 1987, the Department of Advanced Education and Manpower was combined with the Department of Education and the Saskatchewan Library to form one department with responsibility for K-12 education, all post secondary education and training through the universities, technical institutes and community colleges and coordination of all libraries in the province.