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Essential Skills Awareness and Assessment

What are Essential Skills?
Essential Skills form the backbone of all occupational skill sets. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills, and help people evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace changes. From calculating measurements to mastering new technology, employees in the advanced wood manufacturing industry use these skills every day.

The nine Essential Skills are:

  • Reading text (e.g. reading instruction manuals)
  • Document use (e.g. reading and completing forms, interpreting charts)
  • Writing (e.g. writing information on log sheet)
  • Numeracy (e.g. performing calculations)
  • Oral communication (e.g. interacting with supervisor to discuss work load)
  • Thinking skills (e.g. problem solving, decision making, critical thinking)
  • Working with others (e.g. coordinating work with co-workers)
  • Computer use (e.g. writing an email)
  • Continuous learning (e.g. attending training to learn more on a new technique or technology


WMC has created an online tool to help you and your employees identify the basic skills they need, and target areas they should improve on. The tool assesses current and prospective employees on the following five Essential Skills, which are key to the advanced wood manufacturing sector:

  • Reading text
  • Writing
  • Numeracy
  • Document use
  • Thinking skills


Based on the assessment, employees are graded on the Essential Skills from Levels 1 to 3. The tool’s findings help employers confidently place workers in the appropriate jobs, and tailor training and career paths to meet individual needs.

How does the assessment tool work?
The process involves assessing each individual’s skills using the online tools, and then arranging the appropriate training so that your employees can flourish in your organization. Training can be done on the job or through community colleges. We’ll be happy to help you find training partners in your area.

What are the benefits of improved Essential Skills?
Companies that have ES strategies in place may find benefits such as:

  • greater productivity
  • better retention rates
  • higher-quality products
  • increased revenues
  • safer workplace
  • reduced errors and overtime
  • more versatile employees
  • enhanced morale
  • better teamwork


To access the assessment tool, please click here.

For more information on Essential Skills Awareness and Assessment, please contact us at:

Wood Manufacturing Council
130 Albert Street, Suite 1016
Ottawa, ON  K1P 5G4
Phone: 613-567-5511
Fax: 613-567-5411
Email: wmc@wmc-cfb.ca

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