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About Essential Skills

Essential Skills are the skills needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine Essential Skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways and at different levels of complexity. Essential Skills profiles describe how each of the nine Essential Skills are used by workers in a particular occupation.

Over the past several years, the federal department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has conducted research examining the skills people use at work. From this research and through interviews with workers, managers, practitioners and leading researchers, over 350 Essential Skills Profiles have been developed for various occupations of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). 

You can find more information about Essential Skills at the links below:

Literacy and Essential Skills

Essential Skills Profiles

Tools and Applications


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Date last updated: March 16, 2017