Starting Somewhere, Sharing Everywhere.

Essential Skill 1:  Reading Text  

Reading sentences or paragraphs. For example: notes, letters, emails, magazines, manuals, regulations, books, reports, product labels, legal agreements. Includes words on paper and words on a screen.

Essential Skill 2:  Document Use

Understanding visual images such as graphs, lists, tables, drawings, symbols, signs, maps, labels, forms, x-rays. The visual display or arrangement gives meaning to the content.

Essential Skill 3:  Numeracy  

Using numbers and being able to think in terms of “amounts”. For example: Money math, Scheduling or budgeting/accounting, Measurement/calculation, Data analysis, and Estimation may require solving problems by using numbers.

Essential Skill 4:  Writing   

Writing words to share ideas. For example: Writing notes, emails, letters, reports, orders, logbook entries, text messages. Includes “pen and paper” writing and keyboarding.

Essential Skill 5:  Oral Communication

Speaking and listening to share thoughts or information. For example: greeting, telling stories, giving advice, sharing ideas, facilitating, coordinating tasks, explaining, discussing. Can be face-to-face, or using technology.

Essential Skill 6:  Working With Others

Interacting with family, friends, community members, students and co-workers to accomplish tasks together.

Essential Skill 7:  Thinking Skills

Using your brain to: Solve problems, Make decisions, Think critically, Plan and organize tasks, Remember and Find information


Essential Skill 8:  Digital Technology

Using technology. For example: computers, cell phones, GPs, digital cameras, iPods, and MP3s, gaming devices, computerized cash registers, Blackberries, iPhones. Includes using the Internet and email.

Essential Skill 9:  Continuous Learning

Gaining skills and knowledge throughout life. Includes: Learning how to learn, Understanding your learning style, Knowing how to find resources and learning opportunities.

Sharing with Jan Green

At Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program in Port Alberni, we utilize the certificate workshop called, “An Aboriginal Essential Skills Journey” (supported through Douglas College) as component of our Essential Skills’ curriculum. This is our Essential Skills Tree. In the workshop, there are two leaves to complete in one of the final activities. One leaf says, “My take away,” and the other leaf says, “My give away.” The leaves offer participants an opportunity to reflect on the workshop. Learners recognize the knowledge, skills, abilities and feelings attached to important teachings, understandings and practises of Essential Skills.


NETP‘s tree started growing in 2010. This was when the Essential Skills’ curriculum was available for use in our communities on Vancouver Island. As of October 2012, over 150 people have completed a personal journey: a journey into a deeper understanding of what Essential Skills are and how important these skills are in our everyday lives.