About Essential Skills

Essential Skills

Our learning plans are designed to help you become competent in two key areas:

  1. Essential Skills
  2. Language

These learning plans ensure that you first have competency in the base English language skills. Upon this base we build the essential skills you will need to perform well throughout your career. For each career learning plan, we have identified the skills that are essential to working in your chosen information technology career. Using our tutor driven directed study approach, we help you work your way through your learning plan building up the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.

Overview

We have based our essential skills on the Government of Canada Essential Skills Framework. The Essential Skills categories are:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Document Use
  4. Numeracy
  5. Computer Use/Digital Skills
  6. Thinking
  7. Oral Communications
  8. Working With Others
  9. Continuous Learning

Reading

Different levels and types of reading are need across and within different jobs. The reading skills you need to understand a casual instant message from a co-worker is very different than the level required to understand an indepth report into why the existing development platform used by the organization is no longer adequate and a substantial re-tool of the platform and staff capabilities is needed. Reading is done in different contexts of materials of varying levels of complexity of content in various forms.

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Writing

 You need to be able to write a wide variety of material in numerous circumstances. The materials vary by form, audience, complexity and purpose.  Writing field descriptive text for web site bubble help is much easier than writing an impact analysis on business operations in face of a successful and deep hack into your key infrastructure. Depending on your learning plan, you will need to write a variety of material for a variety of audiences for different purpose. Therefore, you need to build upon you base writing skills, vocabulary and grammar knowledge to produce content that meets the current need.

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Document Use

Whatever career you have in your information technology, you are going to need to fill out some type of form. Your ability to read an interactive document (form) and figure out what was said, what is expected for a response and how to respond is very important. Picking the wrong coverage for family insurance won't be easy to explain to your family! Can you respond appropriately to a corporate 500 survey and represent your company well?

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Numeracy

Numbers are everywhere. Can you make sense of them? Can you determine their significance? Can you derive new informatoin from them? Can you make projections from them? Numeracy skill cover skills and knowledge to need to make calucations with number or estimate new numbers. Can you calculate the average space used per record in a database? Can you forecast the space requirements for an application extension? Can you create and manage a budget?  The mathematical skills needed to do those things is required for many IT careers.

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Computer Use/Digital Skills

 Can you produce appealling reports that people can understand? Can you build compelling presentations that lead people to reach the conclusions you want them to? Can you write spreadsheet formulas to make complex forecasts? Can you draw effective diagrams that take complex ideas and boil them down to easy to understand pictures? Can you build project plans? 

You need to use non-technical tools, like office productivity application suites, to create documents for your job. Are you a novice or an expert at formatting and preparing impacting word processing documents? We focus helping improve your proficiency in these tools you you can be more effective in your job. If all you have in your toolbox everything looks like a nail.  If you have more than a word processor in your IT toolbox, you have the freedom to pick the right tool for the job and do a good job with the tool.

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Thinking

Are you good at analyzing things you have read?  Can you pull materials from multiple sources to get a deep understanding on a topic? Do you know how to do research so that you can make an informed decision? Can you get to the root of an issue to solve it?

There are many thinking skills that we use in our everyday life and work that we don't think about much.  As part of your learning plan, we will work to help you develop your thinking skills so that you have what it takes to do well in your job.

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Oral Communications

Can you talk comfortably with a variety of people? Can you chat up someone in the elevator? Can you make small talk before a meeting starts and get to know new co-workers?  Can you get feedback from your staff to understand why they are having problems? Can you make a presentation to a business unit and explain why the new functionality in their system will make their lives better? Can you talk to your CEO about how the company's systems are built on the right platforms with the right tools (and not put the CEO to sleep)?

You need to be able to communicate with a variety of people in numerous contexts using different platforms. That communication can be for a variety of purposes using different communication styles.  To grow your career to need to be good at speaking to many different types of people in a variety of ways for various purposes. That is why we work on your oral communication skills to set you up for success.

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Working With Others

Information technology has evolved a lot in the last 40 years. Organizations expect to get more out of their technologies and their IT staff. Organization no longer have to have large numbers of introverted geeks who hid in the basement and keep the place running. Some IT staff do that.  However, most current information technology staff needs to work with others.  They are expected to work with fellow IT staff and rub elbows with the rest of the business.  Therefore, your ability to work with others will be a factor in how your career works.

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Continuous Learning

Is what going on now the same as five years ago? Have you been able to ignore software upgrades and new techology? If so, your are part of a small minority. The rest of us need to deal with change on a regular basis. In your career, you generally need to choose between changing and adapting or being left behind.  For thos who want to grow their career, continuous learning is part of your regular work life.

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To complete the path to your career goal, you will need to improve both your knowledge and skill levels.  Based on each career learning plan, we have identified the skills that are essential to working in your chosen information technology career.  To do well in your chosen career, you will need to be competent in most of the essential skills.

What is the Reading Essential Skill?

In your information technology career you read a lot of different material for a wide variety of reasons. Can you scan a document for reference to a topic of interest? Can you read a 100 page external consultant report on infrastructure security exposures and capture the key points?

Read more: What is the Reading Essential Skill?

What is the Writing Essential Skill?

Clear and effective writing is easy to say and hard to do. Can you write easy to use instructions for end users and then write an in-depth analysis for the CFO on why changes to AP are key to the company's success?

Read more: What is the Writing Essential Skill?

What is Document Use Essential Skill?

Reading and filling out forms is a regular part of an information technology career. Can you combine your reading and writing skills to respond to digital and written documents effectively?

Read more: What is Document Use Essential Skill?

What is the Numeracy Essential Skill?

Making effective calculations and estimates is very important in some aspects of most careers. Your numeracy skills can make or break your ability to forecast system load or budget short-comings.

Read more: What is the Numeracy Essential Skill?

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