Understanding Essential Skills
Essential Skills are the skills needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to perform tasks required by their jobs as well as adapt to change. The skills are generic and are used in virtually all occupations and throughout daily life. They are transferable from school to work, job to job and sector to sector.
Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine Essential Skills. The research included interviews conducted with over 5000 Canadian workers by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).
The Essential Skills are:
|Reading Text||Working with Others|
|Document Use||Continuous Learning|
There is more information below or follow these links:
Ontario Skills Passport (OSP)
This site provides a variety of tools and resources such as the Check-In Tool that practitioners can use for intake, referral and planning. The site also includes a list of Work Habits:
Order the free publications and research materials available on Essential Skills.
|Reading Text||The comprehension of text consisting of sentences and paragraphs|
|Document Use||The use of labels, lists, signs, graphs, charts, tables, forms and similar materials|
Scheduling, Budgeting and Accounting
Measurement and Calculation
Use mathematical skills to make financial transactions such as handling cash, preparing bills and making statements
Plan and monitor the best use of time and money
Measure and calculate quantities, areas, volumes and/or distances
Collect and analyze of numerical data
Produce estimates in numerical terms
|Writing||Prepare written materials for a variety of purposes|
|Oral Communication||Use speech to exchange thoughts and information|
|Working with Others
|Interact with others to complete tasks. Participate in an ongoing process to improve skills and knowledge|
Job Task Planning and Organizing
Planning and organizing one’s own work
Use appropriate information to make any type of decision
Identify and solve problems
Use a variety of sources to find information
|Computer Use||The use of any type of computerized technology|
Community Literacy of Ontario – Essential Skills (ES)
A series of four informative bulletins
The Main Course – The Nine Essential Skills, An Introduction to ES Profiles, Essential Skills in Action
Simplifying the Complexity Levels, ES profiles – How to Use the NOC profiles like a pro
Apples to Oranges – Making LBS to ES Level Comparisons, ES Profiles – Using the Profiles to Develop Training Plans
A Tour of the Reader’s Guide, Understanding ES Complexity levels, NOC-ES Profiles Connection
National Occupation Classification (NOC)
The National Occupation Classification provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market.
Essential Skills Profiles
Essential Skills Profiles describe how each of the nine Essential Skills is used by workers in a particular occupation.
Workplace Skills and Essential Skills has a series of tools to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor.
How do your skills measure up?
Learners can self-evaluate using these activities. This site has activities to practice three Essential Skills (Reading Text, Document Use and Numeracy) needed in all types of occupations.
Learning Edge #7 – Essential Workplace Skills – a video related to taxi driving skills – interactive and fun!
Learning Edge #9 – Transferable skills – skills you can use in other workplaces
My Gates - The My Gates website is for people who are looking for work but do not plan to go to college or university. Here you can learn about jobs in Ontario, what people do at work and how you can get the skills you need to be successful.
The Essential Skills Indicator
The Essential Skills Indicator is a tool that will help learners gain a better understanding of their Essential Skills levels. It contains a series of short quizzes that will provide an indication of skill strengths and areas that may require improvement. Learners can choose a quiz for Numeracy - Level 1, 2 or 3 , Document Use – Level 1, 2 or 3 or Reading - Level 1, 2 or 3.