What are Essential Skills?

Essential skills are the skills that we use every day for learning. A strong foundation built upon essential skills allows an individual to succeed at home, at work, and in the community.

Employment and Social Development Canada defines essential skills as the skills that:

  • are needed for work, learning, and life
  • are the foundation for learning all other skills
  • help people evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change

Employment and Social Development Canada’s Nine Essential Skills are used in “nearly every job and throughout daily life in different ways and at varying levels of complexity.”

They are:

  • Reading
  • Document Use
  • Numeracy
  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Working with Others
  • Thinking Skills
  • Computer Use
  • Continuous Learning


For more information on essential skills, please visit Employment and Social Development Canada.

Introduction to Essential Skills in Saskatchewan

Are you aware of the benefits of essential skills programming in your workplace? Want to know more?

When employers invest in improving the essential skills of their workers, it can have a significant effect on workplace safety, competence, job satisfaction, and employee retention.

Essential skills are…

  • Foundational: They are key to the development of all other skills at work.
  • Portable: They can be transferred from one environment to another.
  • Critical: People may not realize how often essential skills are called upon in every situation, every day.

Our Essential Skills training will help you discover:

  • Essential Skills definitions
  • A brief history of essential skills development
  • Hands on activities
  • Practicing essential skills
  • Essential skills and your workplace culture