What are essential skills?

The Government of Canada has identified 9 key skills essential for success in the workplace. They are used in nearly every job, in many career sectors and in your daily life. Mastering the 9 essential skills increases your success in all aspects of your life, not just your job. They enable you to grow and adapt to any challenge, beginning in the classroom and continuing on to a successful career. 


Job Demonstration- Oral communication, writing, digital

Job Demonstration- Oral communication, writing, digital


Numeracy refers to the workers’ use of numbers and their capability to think in quantitative terms. We use this skill when doing numerical estimating, money math, scheduling or budgeting math and analyzing measurements or data.

Oral Communication

Oral Communication pertains primarily to the use of speech to give and exchange thoughts and information by workers in an occupational group. We use this skill to greet people, take messages, reassure, persuade, seek information and resolve conflicts.

Working with Others

Examines the extent to which employees work with others to carry out their tasks.We use this skill when we work as a member of a team or jointly with a partner, and when we engage in supervisory or leadership activities.

Continuous Learning

Continuous Learning tests the hypothesis that more and more jobs require continuous upgrading and all workers must continue learning to keep or to grow with their jobs.


Reading refers to the ability to understand reading material in the form of sentences or paragraphs.  We use this skill to scan for information, skim overall meaning, evaluate what we read and integrate information from multiple sources.


The ability to write text and documents; it also includes 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.

Try-A-Trade- Continuous Learning, Working with Others

Try-A-Trade- Continuous Learning, Working with Others

Carpentry uses Thinking, Document Use, Numeracy

Carpentry uses Thinking, Document Use, Numeracy


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

  • problem solving;

  • decision making;

  • critical thinking;

  • job task planning and organizing;

  • significant use of memory; and

  • finding information

Document Use

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. We use this skill when we read and interpret graphs, charts, lists, tables, blueprints, schematics, drawings, signs, and labels.


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, and computers to send emails and create and modify spreadsheets.