Developing key skills for a lifetime of opportunity
A Department for Education and Employment case study

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Page 3: The need for Key Skills

Department For Education And Employment 5 Image 7In the past when we thought about skills, we thought about those that were specific to particular occupations. Skills were defined by job titles such as ‘joiner’ or ‘toolmaker’. Though many of these skills still exist, there are a number of skills required for any job whatever it may entail. These are known as Key Skills.

Key Skills are general skills related to almost any occupation. They include the ability to:

  • communicate and work well with others
  • organise one’s own work and solve problems
  • use information and communication technologies
  • work accurately with numbers and apply them to tasks.

There is a growing recognition that many individuals entering the workforce for the first time lack some of the necessary Key Skills essential to face the challenges they are presented with. People in the workforce must be flexible, multi-skilled and able to respond quickly to new business opportunities and organisational change.

There is also a recognition that individual employees need to take more responsibility for collecting, developing and monitoring their own Key Skills. In order for them to adapt with flexibility to all that is happening in their workplace, this process of developing Key Skills should be part of lifelong learning and development. Lifelong learning is the continuous development of the skills, knowledge and understanding that are essential for employability and fulfilment.

The reasoning behind Key Skills is to create a long term policy which enables people to develop the special skills necessary to become effective members of a flexible and adaptable work force where everybody is an active participant in lifelong learning.

Department for Education and Employment | Developing key skills for a lifetime of opportunity
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