Essential Skills for Students

What are Essential Skills and Why are they Important?

Essential Skills:

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

(Employment and Social Development Canada, 2019)


There are nine Essential Skills that are used in every occupation at varying degrees of complexity:

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


Watch what Douglas College Students have to say about Essential Skills:

Training Group


What services are available?


1. Essential Skills Assessments – What level are you?

Understanding your Essential Skills Levels in relation to Canadian Occupational Essential Skill requirements helps you to explore potential work opportunities and identify skills to build.  

Scientifically validated assessments for Reading, Document Use and Numeracy can be taken online where results reports are provided immediately.  
Self-assessment tools guide you through a process to gauge the ‘other’ Essential Skills 

Complete the assessment independently or with the assistance of an Essential Skills Coach, the choice is yours!  

View Essential Skills Assessments information


2. Essential Skills Coaching 
Students who would like to have personalized assistance with building Essential Skills can request Coaching through in person meetings or a virtual coaching session. Essential Skills Coaches help to:
  • debrief your Essential Skills assessment results;
  • develop personalized learning plan; 
  • provide Essential Skills strategies to help you enhance your skills
To request Essential Skills coaching send a request email to


3. Essential Skills Tools, Resources and Online Modules

There are a number of Essential Skills tools, resources and self-directed modules that individuals can access to enhance their Essential Skills. After completing a validated Essential Skills assessment, the results report provides links to recommended self-directed modules.  
You choose what works best for you and do as much or as little as you would like.  Work independently or with the assistance of an Essential Skills Coach – Your choice!

View Essential Skills Tools, Resources and Online Modules information

Follow Training Group