Essential Employability Skills

Essential Employability Skills (EES) are skills that, regardless of a student’s program, are critical for success in the workplace, day-to-day living, and for lifelong learning. The EES are organized into 6 categories (Communication, Numeracy, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Information Management, Interpersonal, and Personal) and articulate 11 learning outcomes.

The EES are grounded in the following fundamental assumptions:

  • The 11 skills are important for every adult to function successfully in society today;
  • Colleges are well equipped and well positioned to prepare graduates with these 11 skills; and
  • These 11 skills are equally valuable for all graduates, regardless of the level of their credential, whether they pursue a career path, or pursue further education.

What programs are required to teach and assess the EES?

All students graduating from an Ontario College Certificate, Diploma or Advanced Diploma must be able to reliably demonstrate the EES by the end of their program (Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU)).

At Durham College, we have a longstanding practice of including EES in courses for Ontario College Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs as we believe these skills are equally valuable for all graduates.

What is the best way to introduce EES to students?

At the start of a course, it is important for all faculty to provide a clear and meaningful overview to students of how each EES is taught and evaluated in the course. Providing students with examples and quotes from employers or graduates, personal work experience, and job descriptions are valuable teaching tools. Research on job skill needs and requirements, hiring practices, and an overview of the roles and responsibilities within your discipline are also excellent ways to help students connect to these skills.

How do I determine which EES to include in my course outline?

Selecting relevant EES begins with analyzing how each course contributes to the overall set of EES outcomes across a program. For example, a first semester business course might prepare students to demonstrate foundational level business writing skills and a final semester business course might prepare students to demonstrate advanced writing, research and analytical skills.

Where can I find additional resources on EES?

Talk to colleagues and ask for sample assignments, marking criteria, and rubrics. Visit us or email us at We have many additional samples and tools that we can share. Use the following resource as a guide.