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What are essential skills?

What are essential skills? (yellowdesign, iStockphoto)

What are Essential Skills?

Let's Talk Science
Format
Text
Grades
7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12
Jurisdiction
AB,  BC,  MB,  NB,  NL,  NS,  NT,  NU,  ON,  PE,  QC,  SK,  YT
Guidance & Careers
Career Development
Career Exploration
Essential Skills

Summary

Students will understand the importance of the Nine Essential Skills.
Students will recognize the importance of each Essential Skill in their future careers and lives.

Setting the Stage

Essential Skills are the skills that people need for work, learning and life. These skills are used in the community and the workplace. They are used in different forms and at different levels of complexity depending on the activity.  These skills provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to better prepare for, get and keep a job. These skills help workers adapt to, and succeed in, changing workplaces. For further explanation of essential skills, refer to http://skillscompetencescanada.com/en/essential-skills/what-are-the-nine-essential-skills/.

Materials & Preparation

  • Arrange for computer and internet access for students working in pairs or groups.
  • Arrange for students to download the app on phones or tablets (optional)
  • Students should have a good understanding of the nine essential skills and how each supports workers in the workplace.
  • Arrange for computer and internet access for students working in pairs or groups.
  • Using Essential Skills on the Job Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Download the Essential Skills and Duties Performed Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Download the Essential Skills Test Yourself Quiz Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Download the Essential Skills App (free for mobile or tablet on the Apple Store or Google Play)

What to Do

Teachers can begin by reviewing, or introducing students to, the nine Essential Skills identified by the Government of Canada, as well as other national and international organizations.  The nine Essential Skills, including explanations and video examples of each, can be found on the Skills/Compétences Canada website. Also available on this website is an app that provides information and quizzes that test users on their knowledge.  This app is available for desktop, IOS and Android devices. 

Using the Essential Skills App BLM, students could download the Skills/Compétences Canada app to learn about, or refresh their knowledge of the nine essential skills. Teachers could lead a whole class discussion or organize students into groups where they could identify how they use these Essential Skills in their own lives.  Students should be able to identify how they use the Essential Skills in various areas of their lives, such as in school, at home, during extracurricular/free-time activities, and/or at their paid jobs.  

Examples should be as specific as possible.  For example: 

  • Reading - online messages or novels in English class; 
  • Writing - a resume for a job or assignment for social studies; 
  • Document Use - filling out a job application; 
  • Numeracy - figuring out how much money for a weekend trip; 
  • Computer Use/Digital Skills - creating a YouTube video; 
  • Thinking – problem-solving when there is a disagreement; 
  • Oral Communication - talking to younger members of youth group about a topic; 
  • Working with Others - team play during a basketball game; 
  • Continuous Learning - completing a First Aid course outside of school.  

Provide each student with a copy of either the Essential Skills on the Job or the Essential Skills and Duties Performed BLMs and direct them to the Let’s Talk Science careers resource.  Student should select Career Profiles of people working in an area of interest to them.  Based on the information provided in the Career Profile, students will identify where each Essential Skill is used in that person’s current or previous occupation(s). Teachers could arrange students in pairs to share their thinking on each profile and their answers to the reflection questions. 

Details

Sample Student Response

Example using Jackie Frampton's Career Profile

STEM Career Profile Name & Current Occupation : Jackie Frampton, Construction Electrician
Essential Skills How each Essential Skill is used in their current or previous occupations/jobs
Reading Reading and understanding the Canadian Electrical Code
Writing Note: Not specifically stated; however, communication of various types, writing of reports, ordering of equipment, etc. would all involve writing.
Document Use Working with and ensuring all electrical equipment is installed according to the Canadian Electrical Code
Numeracy Measuring distances, scaling from blueprints, calculating different equations for electrical components
Computer Use/Digital Skills Using multi-meters and circuit testers
Thinking Troubleshooting when electrical components fail
Oral Communication Consulting with other trades like carpenters, plumbers, welders to make sure their equipment does not interfere with their ability to perform their part of the construction
Working with Others Paired with other electricians; working with a supervisor
Continuous
Learning
Found that the job she was in was not rewarding.  Completed a course on firefighting for women.  Pursued an electrical trade.  Also, being an electrician gives her the opportunity to learn other skills from other trades.

Student ranking of skills in order of importance will vary. There is no one correct answer. All of these skills are important; most equally important. However, on any given day, worksite, or even minute by minute, some skills will be more significant and important to the person at that time.

Sample Student Response

Example using Jackie Frampton's Career Profile

STEM Career Profile Name & Current Occupation : Jackie Frampton, Construction Electrician
Essential Skills How each Essential Skill is used in their current or previous occupations/jobs
Reading Reading and understanding the Canadian Electrical Code
Writing Note: Not specifically stated; however, communication of various types, writing of reports, ordering of equipment, etc. would all involve writing.
Document Use Working with and ensuring all electrical equipment is installed according to the Canadian Electrical Code
Numeracy Measuring distances, scaling from blueprints, calculating different equations for electrical components
Computer Use/Digital Skills Using multi-meters and circuit testers
Thinking Troubleshooting when electrical components fail
Oral Communication Consulting with other trades like carpenters, plumbers, welders to make sure their equipment does not interfere with their ability to perform their part of the construction
Working with Others Paired with other electricians; working with a supervisor
Continuous
Learning
Found that the job she was in was not rewarding.  Completed a course on firefighting for women.  Pursued an electrical trade.  Also, being an electrician gives her the opportunity to learn other skills from other trades.

Student ranking of skills in order of importance will vary. There is no one correct answer. All of these skills are important; most equally important. However, on any given day, worksite, or even minute by minute, some skills will be more significant and important to the person at that time.

Assessment
  • Teachers could collect the Reproducibles for review and comment.
  • Teachers could keep anecdotal records of students’ participation in both small group and whole class discussions.
Assessment
  • Teachers could collect the Reproducibles for review and comment.
  • Teachers could keep anecdotal records of students’ participation in both small group and whole class discussions.
Downloads
  • Using Essential Skills on the Job Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Essential Skills and Duties Performed Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Essential Skills Test Yourself Quiz Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Essential Skills App (free for mobile or tablet on the Apple Store or Google Play)
Downloads
  • Using Essential Skills on the Job Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Essential Skills and Duties Performed Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Essential Skills Test Yourself Quiz Reproducible (1 per student) [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Essential Skills App (free for mobile or tablet on the Apple Store or Google Play)