Is Computer Use Really an Essential Skill?

The Government of Canada has actually identified the nine essential skills that are used in nearly every job and throughout daily life. These skills include reading, writing, document use, numeracy, computer use, thinking, oral communication, working with others and continuous learning. Are you surprised that computer use is now an essential skill?  Technology is definitely changing the workplace. Although almost 1 in 2 Canadians use computer functions by means of a smartphone, there are still some employees who are not that comfortable with using computers whether at home or at work.

Today, many hospitality organizations spend hundreds of dollars on IT solutions that they expect their employees can use to work more efficiently.   From Housekeeping software for inventory management, to department store electronic cash registers, to handheld Point of Sale (POS) devices in restaurants, computer applications and devices in the workplace are here to stay. They are overall good for business and provide customers with faster service and decrease the possibility of human error. Think about the last time you went to a restaurant to have a meal. Would you have been surprised if the server told you they didn’t have the handheld payment device for you to use to pay for your check with your credit card at the table?

Employees who do not use workplace based technology should be a concern for managers.  If employees are not properly trained on using the technology or worse yet, lack the skill to use it, inefficiencies and negative effects on customer service could occur.

A study by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) and its partners found that firms earned a 23% rate of return on literacy and essential skills training investment. The findings also indicate that workplace Literacy and Essential Skills training have large positive impacts on workers’ skills, job performance, and a range of economic and social outcomes for employees. With Computer Use now an essential skill, employees who are trained on all nine essential skills can prove to be beneficial.  Employees who are comfortable using technology are typically also comfortable utilizing other essential skills required to be successful using technology, such as reading text, document use or thinking.  

To attain a highly skilled workforce, employers can invest in essential skills training to keep employees on pace with ever changing workplace based technology and assist employees to feel more confident with using this technology. Learn more about OTEC Essential Skills training and how it can benefit you today.

Close to Half of Canadians Now Own a Smartphone . Retrieved from


Upskill: A Credible Test of Workplace Literacy and Essential Skills Training. Summary Report. August 2014


Ava-Dawn is OTEC’s Training Program Facilitator, responsible for assessing and delivering OTEC Essential Skills training and liaising with OTEC trainers and coordinating public and contract training program logistics provincially. She enjoys arts and crafts, baking and spending time with her growing family.


Posted: 11/13/2014 10:12:21 AM by Paula Lanza | with 0 comments
Filed under: Essential, Hospitality, Service, Skills, Tourism, Training

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