What are Your Employability Skills

Format
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Let's Talk Science
7 8 9 10 11 12

Students will create their Employability Skills Profile.
Students will identify employability skills in which they are strong and those that need work.
Students will develop plans to improve employability skills that need improving.
Students will be introduced to the concept of SMART goals.

Setting the Stage

Employability Skills are sometimes called “transferable skills” and are defined by the Conference Board of Canada as “the skills you need to enter, stay in, and progress in the world of work”. They go on to say that, these skills are necessary regardless of whether a person works on their own or as part of a team. In essence, these skills are necessary to almost all jobs and make a person desirable to those doing the hiring. We develop these skills through the formal and informal activities in which we engage in, and out of, school. 

Material & Preparation

  • Students should have a good understanding of what employability skills are and why they are important.
  • Download the Employability Skills Self Check Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Download the Employability Skills Profile Graphing Charts Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Download the Employability Skills Exit Slip Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]

What to Do

This “Employability Skills Self Check” activity is based on the criteria described by the Conference Board of Canada. It is a tool that can be used for several inter-related purposes. 

  • Students could use their Self Checks to identify and categorize necessary items to include in an employability skills portfolio. The examples provided to support their ranking of each skill will suggest appropriate artifacts for inclusion in the portfolio. 
  • Students could use their Self Checks to identify categories/areas in which they could improve their skill level and set plans for how they will improve the selected skills.

Teachers can have students complete the Self Check as a means to introduce the importance of various skills for finding, keeping and progressing in a job. Teachers can use this Self Check to help students develop an understanding that “job readiness” begins well before enrolment in a training or education program. The skills developed in everyday life, through the activities, hobbies, and pursuits, all contribute to overall employability (i.e. how attractive a prospective employer will see us). 

Most students will recognize that achieving a level of certification or competency in the practical components related to a specific job is obviously important (i.e., knowing how to use specific tools or equipment or knowing specific procedures). Many will not realize that the skills listed in the Self Check are highly valued by employers and are the skills that will help them progress from an entry-level position to more senior levels in a company or organization.

After completing the Self Check, students could reflect on those skills they rated “moderately effective” or lower. Suggested reflection questions:

  • Are these skills concentrated in one or two categories or are they found across all the skills categories? 
  • What changes can be made to strengthen the skills? 

Using the chart provided, students could enter these skills and then identify concrete actions they could take to address any deficiencies. Teachers should encourage students to create action plans that are SMART (Specific – clearly stated, includes the 5 W’s; Measurable – you will know when you have achieved an improvement in the skill; Achievable – the goal is realistic and attainable, Relevant – relates to the skill they are hoping to improve, Time-bound – has a time frame established). 

Teachers could group students by specific skill categories in which they recorded “moderately effective” skill levels. Students in that group could share their ratings and discuss ideas for improving specific skills. Peers could assess each other’s action plans for SMARTness and edits made where necessary.

Where resources exist, students could use a software package such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, to create an electronic Skills Profile Graph rather than the reproducibles provided.  Using their graphs, students could address skill areas they would like to improve starting with those that scored lowest first and then move on to the next higher level until all have been reviewed/addressed. 

Teachers could select a skill category (e.g., Fundamental Skills, Personal Management Skills, or Teamwork Skills) and have students create a bar graph using one of the templates provided. Students could colour or shade each bar to improve visibility. When completed, teachers could have students mingle with classmates to see if they can identify someone with the same graph (i.e., the same scores on each skills). While it is unlikely that identical graphs will be found (i.e., we all have skills we are good at and those that we could improve) this activity will help demonstrate this fact. 

Next, students should form pairs or groups of three. Taking turns, students will share the graphical representation of their skill profile, identify one skill they plan to work on, and explain why it was chosen. 

The group discussion activity can be followed up with an individual activity in which students reflect on what they have learning about themselves through the completion of the Employability Skills Self Check and the discussions they have had with their peers. 

Teachers could have students complete an Exit Slip such as one of the samples provided. These Exit Slips provide students with another opportunity to reflect on what they have learned during this activity. It also provides them with the opportunity to privately “voice” issues or concerns they may still have. While Exit Slips are normally anonymous, teachers could request students include their names so the Exit Slip can be returned after the teacher has read and perhaps provided comments where appropriate. Students will need a minimum of five minutes to complete the Exit Slip.

Please refer to the Exit Slip learning strategy for more information and ideas on how to use it in your classroom. 

Details

Assessment

Teachers could use the completed Self Checks as a formative assessment tool. Review of the Self Check for the class will provide the teacher with a better understanding of the students, their backgrounds, their strengths and their needs. 

Teachers can use the Exit Slips for feedback and to identify individual or common issues to explore further in subsequent lessons.

Assessment

Teachers could use the completed Self Checks as a formative assessment tool. Review of the Self Check for the class will provide the teacher with a better understanding of the students, their backgrounds, their strengths and their needs. 

Teachers can use the Exit Slips for feedback and to identify individual or common issues to explore further in subsequent lessons.

Downloads

  • Employability Skills Self Check Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Employability Skills Profile Graphing Charts Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Employability Skills Exit Slip Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]

Downloads

  • Employability Skills Self Check Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Employability Skills Profile Graphing Charts Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]
  • Employability Skills Exit Slip Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]