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What are Essential Skills?

Essential Skills are the skills people use to carry out a wide variety of everyday life and work tasks.

Why are Essential Skills so important?

  • Essential skills are used in nearly every job and at different levels of complexity.
  • provide the foundation for learning all other skills
  • enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change

There are 9 essential skills:

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Digital
  3. Document Use
  4. Numeracy
  5. Oral Communication
  6. Reading Text/Lecture
  7. Thinking
  8. Working with Others
  9. Writing

Key Essential Skills

  • Continuous Learning

    • The ability to participate in an ongoing process of acquiring skills and knowledge

    Interesting fact.....more and more jobs require continuous upgrading and all workers must continue learning to keep or to grow with their jobs

    Workers' Essential Skills become:

    • knowing how to learn
    • understanding one's own learning style
    • knowing how to gain access to a variety of materials, resources and learning opportunities

    Continuous Learning may include:

    • training in job-related health and safety
    • obtaining and updating credentials
    • learning about new equipment, procedures, products and services

    We use this skill when:

    • we learn as part of regular work or from co-workers and when we access training in the workplace or off-site.
  • Digital

    Digital skills are those needed to understand and process information from digital sources, use digital systems, technical tools, and applications.

    Digital Sources and/or devices include:

    • cash registers
    • word processing software
    • computers to send emails and create and modify spreadsheets

    In the trades and technology professions, people use digital skills to:

    • Input
    • Access
    • Analyze
    • Organize
    • Measure
    • manufacture and communicate information and ideas using digital tools and other digital devices
  • Document Use

    • involves a variety of information displays in which words, numbers, icons, and other visual characteristics (eg. line, colour, shape) are given meaning by their spatial arrangement


    • print and non-print media (for example, computer screen or microfiche documents, equipment gauges, clocks and flags);

    We use this skill when:

    • we read and interpret graphs, charts, lists, tables, blueprints, schematics, drawings, signs, and labels
    • reading/interpreting and writing/completing/producing of documents
  • Numeracy

    • Use of numbers
    • Capability to think in quantitative terms

    We use this skill:

    • Doing numerical estimating
    • money math
    • scheduling or budgeting and accounting math
    • analyzing measurements or data
  • Oral Communication

    • the use of speech to give and exchange thought and information

    We use this skill:

    • to greet people
    • take messages
    • Reassure
    • persuade
    • seek information
    • resolve conflicts


  • Reading Text/Lecture

    • ability to understand reading material in the form of sentences or paragraphs
    • generally involves reading notes, letters, memos, manuals, specifications, regulations, books, reports or journals

    Reading includes:

    • forms and labels if they contain at least one paragraph
    • print and non-print media (for example, text on computer screens and microfiche)
    • paragraph-length text in charts, tables and graphs

    We use this skill to:

    • scan for information
    • skim overall meaning
    • evaluate what we read
    • integrate information from multiple sources
  • Thinking

    • is the ability to engage in the process of evaluating ideas or information to reach a rational decision

    Thinking differentiates between six different types of interconnected cognitive functions:

    • problem solving
    • decision making
    • critical thinking
    • job task planning and organizing
    • significant use of memory
    • finding information
  • Working with Others

    Examines the extent to which employees work with others to carry out their tasks

    Working with Others consists of two parts:

    • Description of Work Context
    • Supervisory or Leadership Activities

    When Working with Others:

    • we work as a member of a team or jointly with a partner
    • we engage in supervisory or leadership activities
  • Writing

    The ability to write:

    • texts and writing in documents(for example, filling in forms)
    • in non paper-based writing such as typing on a computer

    We use this skill when:

    • we organize, record, document, provide information to persuade, request information from others and justify a request

Our Mission

To promote and engage Saskatchewan youth in skilled trades and technologies