Essential Skills

What are Essential Skills?

Essential Skills are the fundamental skills that make it possible to learn all other skills. These are necessary to help individuals fully participate in the workplace and in the community. The nine skills are Reading Text, Document Use, Numeracy, Writing, Oral Communication, Working with Others, Thinking Skills, Computer Use and Continuous Learning. Canadian Language Benchmarks also provides a list of Essential Skills in the Workplace.

Essential Skills provide occupational based information to help:

Students and Job Seekers explore the skills needed for various occupations.
Career Counsellors assist clients in the investigation of career options.
Employers develop job descriptions and workplace training programs.

Teachers demonstrate the relevance of what they are learning according to the demands of the workplace.

Curriculum Developers and Trainers use real workplace applications for classroom instruction.
Parents encourage confidence in their children.

Is Language Important in the Workplace?

Language is the key to workplace communication. Internationally-educated workers who have language proficiency can easily access essential skills resources.


The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks provides an online self-assessment tool to help determine your language level. From the benchmarks overview, you can also understand work-specific competencies and the skills needed to reach your employment goals.