Essential Skills

Skills such as reading, numeracy, document use and working with others are essential for you to succeed in apprenticeship training and in the workplace.

Learn about essential skills and how they are used in the trades. Find out what essential skills you need for your trade, identify your strengths and improve your skills.

What are “Essential Skills”?

Essential skills are the skills needed for work, learning and life. They are used in nearly every job and at different levels of complexity.

There are nine essential skills.

  • Read written materials such as emails, memos, manuals and reports
  • Analyze and integrate information from multiple sources
Document Use
  • Understand and enter information in documents such as charts, graphs, pay stubs, gauges, blueprints and schedules
  • Create and read schematic drawings
Numeracy (Math)
  • Take measurements, and make calculations and estimates
  • Perform scheduling, budgeting or accounting
  • Write with a clear purpose such as to inform or request information
  • Use appropriate sentence structure, punctuation, wording and tone
Oral Communication
  • Communicate information clearly and concisely
  • Speak comfortably with clients and supervisors
Working with Others
  • Coordinate work and share information with others
  • Participate actively in group projects and team meetings
  • Organize work effectively to meet quality standards and deadlines
  • Consider all relevant factors before making a decision
Digital Technology
  • Use email to send and receive information
  • Use company-specific software such as financial or design programs
Continuous Learning
  • Seek out learning opportunities
  • Participate in various forms of training (e.g. courses, on-the-job) and apply learning at work

Essential Skills Tools for the Skilled Trades

You can use practical guides, checklists and worksheets to help you recognize your strengths, develop a plan and improve your skills. You can complete them on your own or with the help of an employer or training instructor.

Learn How Essential Skills are used in the Trades

For more information on how essential skills are used in different trades, view the Essential Skills Profiles or look at the Occupational Standards for an essential skills summary.