Did you know that writing is one of 9 Essential Skills identified by the government of Canada and valued by employers across the country? Did you know that clear, concise, and effective writing is a form of literacy?
Sometimes it is challenging to understand how our writing skills affect our job prospects. Let’s look closer at what Essential Skills Canada says about the importance of writing skills. We use writing skills to:
- Organize and record information (e.g. to-do lists, procedures, inventory)
- Document incidences (e.g. safety reports, incident reports)
- Provide information to persuade and/or justify requests (e.g. customer communication/emails, funding requests, vacation requests)
- Request information from others (e.g. asking for support, collaborating on projects, documenting needs)
Believe it or not, writing skills are required and used in each and every profession! For example, trades professionals are often required to write safety reports, record material substitutions, and write emails to customers, while health and human services professionals document patient information, communicate with their superiors, and write research assignments. No two ways about it, we all need to write well to be successful at work (9 Essential Skills, 2016).
Having strong writing skills does not mean spending your time writing academic essays. While academic writing is a specific skill required for some, having strong writing skills means being confident and able to communicate effectively at work whether by analyzing trends and research, writing a formal report, or sending a professional email. Having strong writing skills also keeps you competitive.
So what? Well, when we think about how often we write every day, it really isn’t that much. We tend to use our listening and speaking skills the most in the run of a day, followed by reading skills and then writing skills. Considering that all writing skills are not innate- that is, they are learned- it is common and understandable to need more time and support to strengthen this skill.
As an NSCC student, you have an opportunity to improve all of your program and employment-related skills. The skills you learn and work on here will help you in the competitive job market and make it more likely that you’ll be employed in your preferred field of work. Industry tells us that all Essential Skills, including writing, are very important when hiring new grads.
How can you get some extra help? NSCC recognizes that writing support is a gap and is developing a model that will establish Writing Centres at our campuses. As a first step, one-on-one support is available at the Akerley, Waterfront, or IT campuses. If you are a student at one of these campuses, look for signs in the libraries/learning commons to guide you to the Writing Centre. We can help you plan and organize assignments, recognize strengths and weaknesses within your writing, and provide you with resources to help you become a more confident and competent communicator.
Get help early. Get help often. We look forward to working with you!
If you have questions, please also feel free to contact me:
Writing Center Project Coordinator
ABC Life Literacy Canada. (2016). 9 Essential Skills. Retrieved from https://abclifeliteracy.ca/nine-essential-skills
Government of Canada. (2015). Literacy and Essential Skills. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/essential-skills.html