20 years of experience Developing Workforce Skills
Essential Skills

Essential Skills

“Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated these key Essential Skills for the workplace. These skills are used in nearly every job and at different levels of complexity. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.”

– Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

 formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

The Nine Workplace Essential Skills Are:

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


Reading is understanding information in the form of sentences or paragraphs. Workplace examples: reading instructions from an equipment manual, reading flight information on a computer screen.

Document Use

Document use is reading signs, labels, lists, or drawings; interpreting information on graphs; and entering information on forms. Workplace examples: interpreting building height information from a blueprint, getting price information from a product catalogue.


Numeracy is using numbers and thinking in quantitative terms to complete tasks, such as estimating amounts, scheduling, or analyzing data. Workplace examples: calculating the amount of change to give to a customer, preparing budgets for the company.


Writing is conveying ideas by writing text and writing in documents, such as filling in forms or typing on a computer.Workplace examples: filling out a form to request equipment repairs, writing an annual report about the company’s activities for the previous year.

Oral Communication

Oral Communication is using speech to give and exchange thoughts and information. Workplace examples: informing a customer about a company’s services, making a presentation at an office meeting.

Working with Others

Working with Others is working with co-workers, as a member of a team, or in a supervisory position. Workplace examples: coordinating tasks with co-workers to cater a banquet, working as an assistant to help a supervisor complete a task.


Thinking is evaluating ideas or information to reach a rational decision. Workplace examples: making a diagnosis about a patient’s condition based on observations and the patient’s medical reports, resolving a customer complaint.

Digital Technology

Digital Technology is using computer applications or technical tools such as word processing, e-mails, or spreadsheets. Workplace examples: using a spreadsheet to make budget calculations for a project, completing financial transactions using electronic cash registers.

Continuous Learning

Continuous Learning is ongoing learning as part of work, through on or off site training, or from co-workers. Workplace examples: receiving on-the-job mentoring about a new company procedure, attending a convention to learn about new products.

Essential Skills in the Trades

Learn about the crucial role Essential Skills has in trades training and career success.

Are you ready for a career in the trades?

Essential Skills Levels for the Trades


Looking for Workplace Essential Skills Training?