Key skills

Pair of glasses on a skills document
Figure 3.2

Skills can be described in a number of ways – key skills, core skills, practical skills, technical skills or life skills – depending on context and purpose.

These key (or core) skills [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] are important for learning, personal development and employment. You may not have thought about your skills in these terms before, especially if it is some time since you were in education or job-seeking, and you will probably have more skills than you realise: managing a household, paying bills, budgeting, speaking to trades people, making appointments, working together to look after children … and many more.

Activity 3.3 Identifying my key skills

Timing: You should spend around 30 minutes on this activity.

Have a look at the list of key skills in the table provided, thinking about each one in turn.


Go to Activity 3.3 of your Reflection Log. Once you have completed the activity, make sure you save the document again.

As you go down the list, put a tick or a cross in the appropriate box. For example, if you feel that a particular skill is one of your strengths, put a tick in the first column; if, however, you feel quite comfortable about this skill rather than seeing it as a strength, put a tick in the second column; or if you feel you need to develop this skill some more, put a tick in the third column. It may help you to look back at the timeline you made in Session 2 and think about how you responded to the different events in your life.

You wouldn’t expect to find you are strong in all skills, but this activity is useful in helping you to tease out the types of skills you have. When you have finished checking the list, go back to your timeline and add any more skills you have found.

Now choose two or three skills you have ticked and write a few sentences about them, giving examples of how you have used them. You can use the checklist to tell another person in your group what your skills are and how you have used them.

Here is an example of what one person said about their skills:

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