Essential skills-such as reading, problem solving and working with others-are the basic skills that all of us need in life and on the job. Employees with strong essential skills learn faster, manage their time better and are easier to train. Unfortunately, identifying and measuring these skill gaps can be difficult. CARSessentials, a new free online tool from the Canadian Automotive Repair and Service Council, makes it easy for employers, supervisors and trainers to assess the essential skills of both current and potential employees. You can’t fix what you can’t measure Most manager think about occupational training, the training employees must have to do the work they are paid for. From innovations like hybrid engines to new diagnostic tools and ever-changing technologies-in this business, the need for training never ends. Whether it takes place on the job, online or in the classroom, training costs time and money, so it makes sense to ensure employees are able to take full advantage of that training. CARSessentials is a free, easy-to-use tool that can help you maximize that training investment. Job-specific skills and training aren’t enough Essential skills aren’t just necessary for life; they are the necessary building blocks for all types of learning. For example, if employees have trouble with thinking abilities or computer use, it could take them longer to learn how to use new equipment. Employees who struggle with math can have trouble reading gauges or using tools such as calipers and micrometers-even after they’ve been trained. Just like repair skills, essential skills can be taught. But first, you need to assess which skills need upgrading. Once the assessment is done, then what? CARSessentials is more than an assessment tool. At end of the assessment, users are provided with suggestions for training-and where to find it-so they can put in place an appropriate training plan to address skills gaps. The tool and more information is available online at www.carsessentials.ca.