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.
TOWES Focus & Eskilon Learning /Esport
Eskilon Learning Solutions Inc. and Esport use TOWES Focus with many Aboriginal organizations who deliver employment readiness programs. Some of our current ESPORT TOWES clients are Aboriginal organizations in Ontario including the Metis Nation of Ontario, Seven Generations Education Institute and United Native Friendship Centre. 7 Generations uses TOWES to determine the essential skills levels of clients applying for training programs – it’s one piece of data to help them select people for the program – and they use it for employers who will accept a 3, 3, 3 in lieu of grade 12 as an employment screen. There are a couple Mining and Forestry companies working with 7 Generations that are supportive of TOWES as an assessment tool. 7 Generations also uses PLATO to upskill clients’ essential skills based on their TOWES scores and their occupation of choice.
As an early adopter of the web based versions of TOWES, we have noticed improvements in the system in several different areas since we first started using it. The readability of the documents used in the test questions has improved significantly. I’m not sure if its font sizes or styles but it really has made it easier to read the questions and there’s more consistency in their presentation to the client. I believe this is a benefit to the test takers. The navigation and test answer tools are very clear and easy for test takers. I’ve also noted a performance improvement, primarily in the speed and responsiveness of the system. The learner test portal is much simpler while still maintaining the necessary security and the kiosk launcher has vastly improved access – it’s automated for the client. The assessment works with the most popular browsers (best with Google) and that eliminates access issues for many organizations.
Essentially we view TOWES as the accurate, reliable essential skills assessment that can be used by organizations to gather data about the needs of the clients they serve, help them plan ES upgrading on an individual basis (using PLATO and other resources) and also as documentation for employers that our clients have essential skills at a defined level. Clients use ESPORT to identify occupations best suited to their vocational interests (i.e. career exploration and planning). Once they’ve identified a couple occupations they’d like to pursue, ESPORT launches the TOWES assessment, stores the assessment results, and allows clients and their employment counsellors to easily compare the client’s assessment results to the ES Job Profiles for about 400 occupations. Both the counsellor and the client can review a Gap Report which shows the relationship between the client’s skills levels and the requirements for the occupation they’re interested in. The Gap report can be used to build a learning plan using PLATO and other resources. TOWES Focus works well with Plato and ESPORT and together represent a powerful web based solution to essential skills training and development.
The TOWES production and support team can be counted on to provide professional training and orientation to our users and provide high standards of customer service at all times.