Essential Skills

Connecting Literacy and Employment through Essential Skills

This series of workbooks are for people who want to look for work and improve their essential skills. There are seven workbooks you can use that focus on looking for work and essential skills.

Each workbook includes a checklist of skills, information on essential skills, and activities to improve your skills. The workbooks can be accessed online and downloaded to print.  

This resource is appropriate for those with an elementary school reading level and above.

Resource Links

Workbook Website

Workbook 1 – Identifying the job seeker

Workbook 2 – Essential skills to identify the job

Workbook 3 – Essential skills to research your occupation

Workbook 4 – Essential skills to search for a job

Workbook 5 – Essential skills to market yourself with a resume and cover letter

Workbook 6 – Essential skills to market yourself at the interview

Workbook 7 – Essential skills to maintain employability

Literacy Link South Central

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Education and Skills Online Assessment

Education & Skills Online Assessment is a tool designed to provide results that are linked to the OECD Survey of Adult Skills. It measures literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

The results will help you find out where you have skills gaps and where you have strengths. After using this assessment, you can then focus on the areas you could improve.

It is appropriate for those with an elementary level reading level and above. The assessment is available in several languages including French, English, Czech, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

Resource Links

Library – main page


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Essential Skills Companion Kit for the Culinary Arts

The Essential Skills Companion Kit to Culinary Arts Trades Training was developed to complement technical Culinary Arts Trades Training. The various activity sets are designed to reinforce academic information that students are required to know during their training. The curriculum was created to practice Essential Skills, such as; Reading Text, Document Use, and Communication.

This resource is appropriate for those with a high school reading level and above.

The files are large Word documents and will automatically download when you click on the Word Part 1 and Word Part 2 hyperlinks.

Resource Links

Companion Kit

Marlin Ratch, Francesca de Bastiani, Shelby Desjarlais, Chef Andrew George, Chef Nathan Hyam, Chef Chris Monkman, Jason Forseth

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Essential Skills Indicator

The Essential Skills Indicator will help you have a better understanding of your essential skills levels. It has a series of short quizzes that will show your skill strengths, and areas that may need improvement. This information can help guide your future training decisions and career planning. There are pre and post tests for two or three levels in numeracy, document use, and reading.

This resource is written at a high school reading level.

Resource Links


Government of Canada

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Essential Skills Self-assessment for Trades

You can complete this self-assessment to learn about your essential skills strengths and areas for improvement as related to the trades. This self-assessment includes statements that describe common trades-related tasks for the nine essential skills.

Use the downloadable PDF or online workbook to help you identify which of your essential skills are strong and which may need improvement. The workbook has activities for four of the nine essential skills (reading, document use, numeracy, and writing) and provides examples of how the skills are used in the skilled trades.

This resource is appropriate for those with an elementary reading level and above.

Resource Links

Assessment and PDF download

Government of Canada

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Oral Communication Tip Sheet

This tip sheet provides practical tips to help you improve your communication skills. Review each of the tips and practice the ones that are the most relevant to you and your learning needs. The resource also includes exercises for communication and a learning plan so you can chart your progress and track your improvement.

Resource is written at a high school reading level.

Resource Links

Tip Sheet

Government of Canada

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Trades Math Workbook

This workbook includes questions and learning material to help you learn more about the numeracy skills required to work in the trades, discover how journeypersons use numeracy on the job, practice your numeracy skills, and find out which numeracy skills you may need to improve.

The workbook is divided into four sections: Measurement and Calculation, Money Math, Scheduling, Budgeting, Accounting, and Data Analysis.

An answer key is provided at the end of the workbook to help you review your answers and find out which areas of numeracy you may need to improve.

This resource is appropriate for those with an elementary reading level and above.

Resource Links


Government of Canada

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Vocabulary Building Workbook

This workbook is designed to help you improve your vocabulary. It includes 24 lessons with a variety of exercises to help you learn new words commonly used in the Canadian workplace. There are six units and 24 lessons, as well as crosswords and wordlists to help you learn and retain vocabulary.

This resource is appropriate for people with a high school reading level and above.

Resource Links


Government of Canada

, essential-skills vocabulary
Workforce Participation Books 1 and 2

These workbooks were created to help people improve their language and essential skills. The books focus on welding and heavy machinery fields, but the activities and skills can be used in any job.

You will read case studies and complete activities to help you understand and improve your essential skills.

You can also watch a series of videos that explore common workplace situations and issues.

Although these workbooks and videos were designed for newcomers, the skills, learning, and activities are applicable to everyone. For English language learners, these workbooks are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 3-5 and CLB 6-8.

Resource Link

Workbook 1 – CLB 3-5

Workbook 2 – CLB 6-8

Newcomers and the Workplace – videos on YouTube

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills

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Working Faster, Working Safer

This workbook develops workplace language, essential skills, and intercultural communication. It follows three hotel employees through their tasks and responsibilities on the job. You can read stories and complete activities to improve your reading, writing, and communication. These workbooks focus on three specific jobs in hospitality; cook, housekeeper, and dishwasher, but the skills are applicable to any occupation.

There is also a series of videos about issues related to the workplace. The videos cover topics such as being on time, workplace communication, hygiene, and harassment.

This is a workbook for job seekers who are Canadian Language Benchmark 1-2.

Resource Links

Working Faster Working Safer Workbook

Working Faster Working Safer YouTube Channel

Alberta Workforce Essential Skills

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