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.

Terms of Reference

 Aboriginal Essential Skills Guiding Team (AESGT)

Terms of Reference

Vision, Mandate and Values

June 2007 (Revised September 2012)


Never has there been a better time to change the way we approach learning and work.  In today’s fast paced life, information comes to us at lightning speed and from various sources.  The Aboriginal Essential Skills Guiding Team was formed in order to be able to better understand the concept of Essential Skills to determine how it could be integrated into the past Aboriginal Human Resource Development Strategy (AHRDS) as well as future strategies now known as Aboriginal Skills & Employment Training Strategy (ASETS).



Essential Skills are the skills people need for work, learning and life.  They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and are the cornerstone of lifelong learning.


Who We Are

We are a group of individuals who work within the Aboriginal Human Resources in partnership with Service Canada and are passionate about literacy and learning.  We represent the BC/Yukon regions and are interested in:


  • Continuing to build our own internal capacity on Essential Skills
  • Continuing to share ideas and program models, materials and resources
  • Widely sharing successes and best practices for the good of our communities
  • Understanding the various assessment tools that support Essential Skills building
  • Looking at ways to integrate Essential Skills into current programming
  • Assist each other in building effective cases for ES integration
  • Working with HRSDC National Office to ensure that a wide variety of relevant information and products are available on-line


We Report to:

Our Managers, fellow co-workers, communities and clients

Our Priorities:

  • Establish a website to post valuable resources
  • Continue to develop and distribute the ESI DVD series through Urban Spirit website
  • Continue to meet on a regular basis as a group (in person and by conference call)
  • Create more awareness and training tools
  • Continue to study various change theorists (i.e. Margaret Wheatley) to explore how we can continue to be a solid and healthy network
  • Continue to network and share existing and emerging practices related to essential skills building
  • Curriculum/program design: ensure that they are tailored to community needs; collaborate with education institutions regarding Essential Skills and share curriculum and program materials within our network
  • Advocate for designated Essential Skills budgets as we can
  • Build cases for support and sponsorship so that we may continue to meet
  • Research


To work together to increase our capacity to deliver quality Essential Skills programming within our service areas, and to freely share any models, materials and resources that result from our efforts.


To increase overall awareness around the concept of Essential Skills.


To work with like-minded individuals and organizations that seek to support Essential Skills building for all.

Our Values:

Collaboration, sharing, honest conversation, willingness to support each other, participation, communication to the wider circle, openness.