What are Essential Skills?   Essential Skills are the foundation skills people need to be successful at work.

Essential Skills are the foundation skills you need to be successful at work. They include reading, document use, writing, numeracy, oral communication, computer use and thinking skills.

We assume people learn Essential Skills at school, but that's not always the case.

  • Quality of education varies between provinces and countries.
  • Some Essential Skills are not taught at school. For example, few people learn how to read technical drawings at school, but it's an Essential Skill that many people use at work.
  • The skills we learn in school are not necessarily the skills we use for work. For example, we learn to write poetry in school but few of us use those skills at work.
  • If we don't use the skills we learn, we lose them. Math is a good example. When most of us graduate high school, our math skills are good, but we quickly forget how to calculate angles or divide fractions if we don't use these skills.

Learn more about Essential Skills by visiting Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's website at hrsdc.gc.ca.


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