Employability Skills Assessment Tool

The Employability Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT) provides a process and online supports for the assessment and development of social and emotional skills like attitude, accountability, confidence, adaptability, creativity, and collaboration so they can be treated as outcomes in your training or employment programs.

License holders can select for from over 40 existing ESAT skills or develop their own skill descriptions for specific applications.

How does ESAT work?

ESAT takes a web-based and appreciative approach to social and emotional skill development by:

  • Establishing a clear assessment framework of skill definitions and exemplars
  • Connecting teams that work together to help program participants develop their skills in a consistent manner
  • Gathering observations to identify behavioural patterns and ensure assessment is evidence-based
  • Fostering participant self-awareness of strengths and skill gaps through honest, consistent, timely and respectful feedback
  • Supporting both self and staff-assessments so participants understand how their social and emotional skills are seen by employers
  • Supporting communication between staff and with participants to overcome employment barriers
  • Providing clear and motivating progress reports

ESAT also allows managers to:

  • Monitor staff applications of ESAT
  • Quantitatively assess program effectiveness
  • Demonstrate the value of training delivery or intervention to funders

Why are social and emotional skills important?

Getting and keeping a good job requires multiple skill sets. Social and emotional skills are the foundation upon which other skills rest. If a client’s social and emotional are not solid they can impact negatively on employment no matter how good their other skills sets are.

Under-developed social and emotional skills can also lead to a cycle of ineffective training in which clients repeat training that doesn’t directly address their employability needs. The result can be decreased labour market participation and mobility.

The Canadian government is recognizing the importance of social and emotional skills in the new Skills for Success Framework

For more information on the core nine ESAT social and emotional skills – CLICK HERE.


ESAT can be used in programs as short as three weeks where the aim is to create awareness of employability expectations, to longer programs of 12 weeks or more  challenging behavioural changes can be achieved. It can be applied in any training or educational setting where the development of social and emotional skills is relevant to the long-term success of the client.  A post-employment  variant of ESAT for workplace applications is under development.

To learn more about assessing social and emotional skills, check this link from Soft Skills assessment: theory development and the research agenda, Gibb, S., International Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol.33, No. 4, 2014. It lists best practices for soft skill assessment practice based on Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006.

ESAT Training

ESAT training is available in various forms:

  • two-day in-person ESAT accreditation course for groups of 8 or larger.
  • on-line orientation courses.
  • on-line in person orientation
  • Practical supports/guides on how to use ESAT to effectively remove barriers to employment are also provided to license holders.

Further Information/Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more about ESAT and its use in pre or post-employment training, please CONTACT US 

Download the ESAT Brochure CLICK HERE

The following videos are provided as ESAT supports but also provide insight into using ESAT:

Futureworx is now a Nova Scotia Works Employment Services Centre. We help job seekers and employers navigate a range of programs - from career planning, job searches and on-the-job development to recruitment, planning and HR support.

The Employability Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT) provides a framework and quantitative assessment methodology for the development of nine employability skills: motivation, attitude, accountability, time management, stress management, presentation, teamwork, adaptability and confidence.

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NSW Offices:
Truro - 902-893-6859
Elmsdale - 902-883-7010
Tatamagouche - 902-657-0180

Head Office:
14 Court Street, Suite 305
Truro, NS B2N 3H7

Tel: 902-843-4290
Fax: 902-843-4294

Mon - Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm