Category Archives: Essential Skills

Essential Skills

The Canadian government has completed a number of studies about adult literacy and concluded that our economy could well be in trouble if we don’t improve the essential skills of many of  our citizens. These skills are defined as “the skills that people need for work, learning and life. They are used in the community and the workplace, in different forms and at different levels of complexity.” See  this link for details.

The government is working to link the above essential skills ot specific occupations as identified by the National Occupational Classification. More detailed information on these is available at

To complete a self-assement on your essentail skills and work habits, see this Government of Ontario website. A faciliator’s guide for the previous tool is available under this link.  To learn more about incorporating these skills into your curriculum, see To see lesson plans prepared by ESL teachers that incorporate essential skills for ESL students heading to a variety of occupations, see  this link.

Top 50 Entry-Level Jobs

Wendy M has been helpful, as usual, around things Essential, that is Essential Skills. She has directed me to a number of useful Essential Skills. The first is a link to a resource from Kingston Literacy called the Top 50 Entry-Level Jobs. They defined entry-level as follows:

An entry level job requires no post-secondary training but may require some job-specific training. In addition, entry level jobs may involve up to six months of on-the-job training. (See HRSDC skill levels C and D. For entry level-jobs, look for skill level 4, 5 or 6.) For example, the jobs 6621 – Gas Station Attendant and 6453 –Waiter are considered entry level.*

We used the National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes to establish our definition of entry-level worker and specifically the skill level portion of the NOC structure, or the second digit. For “entry level,” then, we looked at skill levels C and D, or skill level digits 4, 5 or 6:

Skill Level C occupations generally require completion of secondary school and some job-specific training or completion of courses directly related to the work. Skill Level D occupations usually require on-the-job training, short demonstration sessions or instruction that takes place in the work environment.

*Adapted from the NOC website tutorial at

An examination of the numeracy skills required for each of these occupations will help inform me about what numeracy skills to focus on as I look at the new Fundamental Math curriculum.

Essential Skills for Fundamental and Intermediate Math Learners

As part of my 2011 Schedule (Faculty) Development time, I’m looking at linking Camosun’s Fundamental Math (021 through 039) and Intermediate Math (052 through 057) learning outcomes to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s (HRSDC) numeracy essential skills. The former are provincially articulated here in British Columbia.

Some other resources that may prove to be helpful are available below.

Google Essential Skills Fundamental Math

Google Essential Skills Numeracy

What is clearly missing is a link between Open Educational Resources and Essential Skills. A google on those terms brings up mostly references to things I’ve written on the topic.