Learn about the Skills

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Skills for Success are skills that help you in a quickly changing world. Everyone benefits from having these skills. They help you to get a job, progress at your current job and change jobs. The skills also help you become an active member of your community and succeed in learning.

Skills for Success: Creativity and innovation, problem solving, reading, digital, collaboration, adaptability, writing, numeracy, communication

On this page

Importance of the skills

Skills for Success are the skills needed to participate and thrive in learning, work and life.

Skills for Success include skills that are foundational for building other skills and knowledge and important for effective social interaction. These skills overlap and interact with each other, and with other technical and life skills. They are inclusive and can be adapted to different contexts.

Skills for Success are for everyone – employers, workers, training providers, governments, and communities.

Description of the skills

  • Adaptability

    Your ability to achieve or adjust goals and behaviours when expected or unexpected change occurs, by planning, staying focused, persisting, and overcoming setbacks. For example, we use this skill to change work plans to meet new deadlines, learn how to work with new tools and improve our skills through feedback.

    Why this skill is important

    Major changes in society are affecting how you work, live, and learn and require you to constantly adapt to change. Strong adaptability skills will help you deal effectively with change and to learn new skills and behaviours when needed, stay focused on your responsibilities and goals, and not give up when situations are difficult. They will help you stay positive and manage the stress that can come from change in the workplace, community, and your life at home.

    Improve your adaptability skills

    Find tools to improve your adaptability skills
  • Collaboration

    Your ability to contribute and support others to achieve a common goal. For example, at work we use this skill to provide meaningful support to team members while completing a project.

    Why this skill is important

    Today people are more connected within communities, across the country, and around the world. Modern workplaces are more diverse, and many jobs require you to work with others from different backgrounds and cultures to complete tasks and solve problems. It is important to be able to work respectfully with people who have different professions, experiences, cultures, and backgrounds.

    Collaboration skills help you perform better in a team by understanding how to support and value others, manage difficult interactions and contribute to the team’s work.

    Strong collaboration skills help you build and maintain positive relationships with others at work, in school, and in other parts of your life.

    Improve your collaboration skills

    Find tools to improve your collaboration skills
  • Communication

    Your ability to receive, understand, consider, and share information and ideas through speaking, listening, and interacting with others. For example, we use this skill to listen to instructions, serve customers and discuss ideas.

    Why this skill is important

    Strong communication skills help you share information in a way that others can clearly understand. You also need strong communication skills to listen to, pay attention to, and understand others. In all jobs, communication skills are important for developing good working relationships with co-workers and clients, including those from different backgrounds and cultures. You also need these skills to work effectively in a team, understand a variety of viewpoints, and to gather and share information while problem solving – whether at work or in your daily life.

    Improve your communication skills

    Find tools to improve your communication skills
  • Creativity and innovation

    Your ability to imagine, develop, express, encourage, and apply ideas in ways that are novel, unexpected, or challenge existing methods and norms. For example, we use this skill to discover better ways of doing things, develop new products, and deliver services in a new way.

    Why this skill is important

    Creativity and innovation skills help you come up with new, unique, or “outside the box” ideas or to approach something differently than in the past, both at work and outside work. A curious mindset that finds inspiration from a broad range of experiences and perspectives helps develop creativity and innovation skills. Employers are increasingly seeking people who can apply creativity and innovation skills to their work in our increasingly diverse settings, and to come up with new solutions or approaches to tackling challenges. With strong creativity and innovation skills, you can also support and inspire others to develop their own creativity and innovation.

    Improve your creativity and innovation skills

    Find tools to improve your creativity and innovation skills
  • Digital

    Your ability to use digital technology and tools to find, manage, apply, create and share information and content. For example, we use this skill to create spreadsheets, safely use social media, and securely make online purchases.

    Why this skill is important

    Digital technology has changed the way you find and share information, solve problems, and communicate with others. Most jobs now use digital skills, and you need them when you apply other skills such as reading, writing and numeracy.

    Digital skills help you keep up with changing demands in the modern workplace and in your daily life.

    Improve your digital skills

    Find tools to improve your digital skills
  • Numeracy

    Your ability to find, understand, use, and report mathematical information presented through words, numbers, symbols, and graphics. For example, we use this skill to perform calculations, manage budgets, analyze and model data and make estimations.

    Why this skill is important

    The modern economy requires numeracy skills that go beyond basic arithmetic. Understanding numbers remains critical to functioning in today’s society. Many jobs require the ability to work with numbers and math.

    Numeracy skills are also needed in a wide variety of daily contexts, including managing your finances and making sense of statistics in the news.

    Improve your numeracy skills

    Find tools to improve your numeracy skills
  • Problem solving

    Your ability to identify, analyze, propose solutions, and make decisions. Problem solving helps you to address issues, monitor success, and learn from the experience. For example, we use this skill to make hiring decisions, select courses of action and troubleshoot technical failures.

    Why this skill is important

    Every day you use information to make decisions, solve problems, and take actions. This can include thinking about different ways to complete a task and choosing the best solution, or deciding what to do first when several activities are competing for your attention. The ability to think, make decisions, and solve problems effectively improves the way you carry out activities, and meet goals and deadlines at work or in other daily life situations.

    Strong problem-solving skills will help you gather the right information, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

    As you learn from these experiences, you will strengthen your problem-solving skills and more quickly and effectively adapt to change.

    Improve your problem solving skills

    Find tools to improve your problem solving skills
  • Reading

    Your ability to find, understand, and use information presented through words, symbols, and images. For example, we use this skill to locate information on forms and drawings, and to read items such as emails, reports, news articles, blog posts and instructions.

    Why this skill is important

    Reading helps you to understand and interpret the meaning within the text. Strong reading skills allow you to do your job and to work safely, and efficiently. You use reading skills to learn other skills, for example, by reading online learning resources. Reading is important in day-to-day activities, such as understanding changes in travel advisories and interpreting the important messages in articles.

    Improve your reading skills

    Find tools to improve your reading skills
  • Writing

    Your ability to share information using written words, symbols, and images. For example, we use this skill to fill out forms and applications, and write emails, reports and social media posts.

    Why this skill is important

    We write to communicate ideas and information to other people. In today’s world, we require writing skills that are suitable for different situations including digital platforms.

    Knowing what to write, how much to write, and in which style to write is important. Writing skills ensure your writing is suitable for your purpose, the intended reader, and the context.

    Improve your writing skills

    Find tools to improve your writing skills


Series of videos expanding on each of the Skills for Success.

Watch them to learn how to improve your skills for better outcomes in work and life.


More videos will be added as they are produced.

Page feedback
Did you find what you were looking for?

If not, tell us why below:

What was wrong?

You will not receive a reply. Telephone numbers and email addresses will be removed.

Thank you for your feedback.

Date modified: