Essential skills for essential careers


By Whitney Sharp

We’ve come a long way from learning the three Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Friday, September 25 marks the sixth annual Essential Skills Day—a day dedicated to raising awareness of the nine essential skills identified by the Government of Canada as being necessary for workplace success, and the foundation for lifelong learning.

The skills, which include reading and scanning for information; writing and typing; thinking and evaluating information and ideas; document use and the interpretation of signs, labels, graphs, and charts; computer use and related technical tools; numeracy, estimating, measuring, and budgeting; oral communication and the exchange of thoughts and information via speech; working with others in both teams and partnerships; and continuous learning and the ongoing process of learning new skills, are used in all jobs to varying degrees, and at different levels of complexity. In addition to helping people to find and secure employment, essential skills also prepare individuals to adapt and succeed in the workplace, and better prepare for advancement opportunities, according to Employment and Social Development Canada.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement provides a range of options for students to refine specific skills, including those identified as being essential to employment, ease their way into (or back into) post-secondary studies, upgrade courses to meet prerequisites, and complete job preparation training.

Through the faculty’s academic and career preparation program, individuals can complete their grade 12 equivalency by taking select English and mathematics courses, completing the BC Ministry of Education secondary school graduation requirements and preparing for entrance into other academic programs, or the workforce. Or, students can complete program-specific prerequisites and upgrade specific skills in English, math, and science through university qualifying studies.

The sixth annual Essential Skills Day is Friday, September 25. KPU faculties will be hosting events focused on essentials skills, concluding with a panel discussion about how post-secondary institutions can assist students in transitioning from essentials skills to having true ownership of their own learning.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers students a choice of over 120 different programs where individuals can earn a degree, diploma, certificate, citation, or complete apprenticeship training. Over 250,000 students have attended KPU. You could be one of them. For more information about Academic and Career Advancement at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, visit