Essential Skills Overview

Why assess essential skill levels?

The essential skills levels are directly correlated to the workplace and individual occupations and the tasks associated with the occupation. For this reason CARS has devised this Assessment Tool as a value added product for CARS customers.

Designed as a complement to CARSability assessments it is useful for individuals who want to benchmark their essential skills, as well as CARSability customers who are experiencing difficulty with technical assessments and want to pinpoint whether their challenges are related to technical skills, or more related to such things as document use, numeracy and terminology. There is no charge to take this assessment, as it is a valued added product for CARS customers.

What does it measure?

This assessment tool measures Reading, Document Use, Numeracy, Oral Communication and Thinking Skills.

Who should take it?

This assessment is available free of charge for anyone wanting to assess their inventory of essential skills.

How do I interpret my results?

We would encourage you to compare your results with the Essential Skills profiles at the CARS Youth site.

Following this link allows you to compare your levels against the standards determined for the industry.

What are essential skills?

Essential skills are the skills needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning new skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Essential skills are not the technical skills required by particular occupations but rather the skills applied in all occupations. For example, writing skills are required in a broad range of occupations. The complexity and frequency of writing varies, of course. Some workers fill out simple forms every day, while others write daily or monthly reports.

The essential skills as determined by the federal government are:

  • Reading Text
  • Document Use
  • Writing
  • Numeracy
  • Oral Communication
  • Thinking Skills
  • • Problem Solving
  • • Decision Making
  • • Critical Thinking
  • • Significant Use of Memory
  • • Finding Information
  • Working with Others
  • Computer Use
  • Continuous Learning

More detailed information about essential skills can be found at the HRSDC Website

Complexity Ratings

1. Basic Entry-scoring in this range means that the individual needs to work closely with a supervisor who would routinely monitor their work habits and procedures.

2. Some skill gaps-scoring in this range means that most of the time the individual can handle most of the tasks in this occupation. He/she may experience some difficulty with some tasks but may encounter challenges when taking on new tasks.

3. Meets Standards-scoring in this range means that the individual has the essential skills needed to be successful in this occupation but they may, from time to time encounter issues when asked to take on new tasks depending on the complexity of the new task.

4. Exceeds Standards-individuals scoring in this range can handle routine tasks with ease and oftentimes they would take on new tasks with minimal assistance.

hat role do essential skills play in my skills upgrade training?

In the motive power sector the essential skills are constantly being applied. Training happens constantly through courses, readings, teamwork and on-the-job activities. The essential skills are the basis of developing upgraded training. Reading, Document Use, Writing, Numeracy, Thinking Skills, Working with Others and Computer Use are all directly tied to Continuous Learning.

A healthy training management plan includes integration of the essential skills into everyday activities.

Why are essential skills important and how do they relate to technical skills?

As new technologies are being introduced all personnel need to take upgrading courses to address the new technologies and procedures. The essential skills accelerate the learning and make it easier to absorb the changing requirements of the workplace.

Technical skills are the critical demands of the occupation. The essential skills work in tandem with technical skills. As technical requirements are altered the essential skills are relied upon to recognize the changes and adapt to the new requirements.