Tag Archives: computer skills

Computer Skills for Post Secondary Prep

Core Skills

computer with book shelvesFor anyone entering a post-secondary program, including the skilled trades, it is important to have some core computer skills before starting. 

Gaining computer skills before entering a diploma, certificate or apprenticeship program will mean all in-class time can be focused on learning the content of the program. Trying to learn computer skills at the same time as completing course work can be overwhelming. It can become a barrier to success. Adult training programs can help to remove this barrier.

The computer skills listed below can be used as a checklist. Depending on the program, it may not be necessary to have all of these skills, but these are the most common. Post-secondary programs often provide a list of the computer skills needed. Adult training programs will customize training based on the goals of each individual. 

Contact one of the adult training programs to learn about eligibility and the options for gaining the computer skills needed for success in post-secondary programs. 

Checklist Below:


Hardware you will want to be familiar with:

  • Computer (desktop or laptop)
  • Keyboard and Mouse
  • Printer
  • Modem
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets

Operating Systems

Woman sitting next to a brick wall with a laptopThis is the software that runs your computer – we will focus on the Windows operating system because it is the most common.

  • Turn a computer on
    • This may require you to log on with a password
  • Move around Windows
    • Use the start button to access settings and apps
    • Use the taskbar
    • Open the Recycle Bin
    • Find programs
    • Find and use desktop icons – including shortcuts to programs
    • Run more than one program
    • Close programs
    • Log off
  • Work Safely
    • Download and use virus and malware programs
    • Maintain privacy
    • Understand risks online

File Management

  • Create, move, rename and delete folders and files
  • Understand file extensions, e.g., .pdf (Portable Document Format), .xls (Excel file) and .docx (Word File)
  • Use USB flash drives
  • Use cloud storage – understand the cloud
  • Find documents on a computer
  • Upload a document
  • Scan a document
  • Save a document as a PDF


Word Processing

  • Create and save documents using software such as Microsoft (MS) Word or Google Docs
  • Name and file documents
  • Enter content (typing)
  • Use basic formatting, e.g., bold, underline, capitalization, changing font and font size, cut and paste content and adjusting spacing
  • Use spell check
  • Print files, including previewing and adjusting settings
  • Save and close files
  • Find and open files and make changes to the content and resave


  • Create and save spreadsheets using software such as Microsoft (MS) Excel or Google Sheets
  • Enter content into a worksheet
  • Enter basic formulas
  • Format cells
  • Name worksheets
  • Print worksheets, including previewing and adjusting settings
  • Save and close files
  • Find and open files and make changes to the content and resave


  • Create an email account
  • Use email software e.g., Gmail or Outlook to send and receive email
  • Forward email, e.g., to your phone
  • Type and send messages
  • Manage your email, e.g., respond, forward, save, file and delete email
  • Use calendars
  • Manage safety, e.g., identify email scams
  • Attach a document, file or picture


  • Access the Internet using an Internet Browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Edge
  • Search for a website using Google Search and/or Bing
  • Bookmark a site
  • Know how to assess content – is it Canadian?, is it legitimate?
  • Open more than one tab
  • Copy and paste content
  • Understand URLs
  • Refresh a page
  • Manage safety and security
  • Access social media, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


Note: you will only need these skills if you are required to make presentations.

  • Create and edit slide presentations
  • Select a theme (the look of the presentation)
  • Add content and images

Online Learning

  • Log into a Learning Management System such as D2L
  • Find and download files
  • Upload assignments
  • Communicate with instructors and other students
  • Participate in real time webinars and meetings using programs such as Zoom
  • person holding tabletComplete online assignments
  • Complete online quizzes
  • Post comments

Phones and Tablets

  • Send a text
  • Download and install apps
  • Access email
  • Search the Internet

On the Job

To learn more about the computer skills needed for the trades, visit the post Computers and the Skilled Trades and Digital Skills in the Skilled Trades.

It is also important to note that in a 2022 survey of employers many said that employees and new hires require digital training. The skills employers are looking for include:

51% said Software/Apps (e.g., Word, Excel, Calendars, Accounting, GPS, Google Docs/Forms).

40% said File Management, Sharing and Collaborating (e.g., Folders, Files, Attachments, Permissions, Dropbox).

30% said Hardware (e.g., Computer/Keyboard, Phone, Scanners, Point-of-Sale).

For the full list of digital literacy needs identified by employers visit page 14 of the 2022 EmployerOne Survey.

To Learn More

For more information about how you can gain these skills for work or ongoing education or training, contact one of the adult training programs in your area or contact Carrie at LOCS – or 705 313-4385.


Entering a Skilled Trade

man working on a carAdult Training and Skills Development organizations offer programs that help people prepare to “hit the ground running” when they register for an apprenticeship. 

We also offer programs to current apprentices who may need some support through their training.  We can even help people prepare to write the Certificate of Qualification (C of Q).

Free, personalized training that you can start right away, both online or in person – what could be easier?

Pre-Apprenticeship – Where to Start

Whether you want training or a refresher, we can design pre-apprenticeship training for you so you are ready to complete your apprenticeship successfully. 

We can help you identify the strengths you already have for the trade you want to work in. 

We can also help you identify any areas you may want to upgrade or refresh before starting out in a trade. 

Some trades even have a ‘trade specific’ assessment.  This will help you see what is needed for success in the trade you are thinking about entering.

Training Options

Computer Skills: You may be interested in gaining computer skills so you are ready to do the in-class part of your training.  You may be interested in learning to use tablets that many employers will ask you to use on the job.  You might be interested in learning about apps since many trades use apps now.  See our post Computers and the Skilled Trades.

Communication: You might be thinking about building on the communication skills you will need for success both in class and on the job. 

Math: Many trades rely on various levels of math.  If it has been a while since you have taken a math course, perhaps a refresher will help sharpen your skills so trades specific math will be less of a challenge.  See our post Math and the Skilled Trades.

Soft Skills: Employers tell us they want employees with skills like problem solving, time management, teamwork, organization and customer service.  We can help you sharpen these skills so you can add them to your resume.  This will help you catch the attention of an employer.

You will also gain strategies that will help you handle the challenging tasks you may face in class and on the job.

Whatever it is you need to prepare for success in the skilled trades, we can support you in gaining the base skills you will need.  

For Current Apprentices

Adult Training and Skills Development organizations also help people who are currently working in a trade or registered as an apprentice but need a bit of extra support in areas such as math, communication, computer skills or soft skills. 

As mentioned, we can also help you prepare to write your Certificate of Qualification (CofQ).

Who to Contact?

For more information you can contact any of the programs in your area.

City of Kawartha Lakes Programs
Haliburton Programs
Hastings Programs
Northumberland Programs
Peterborough Programs

You can also download a flyer:


If you would like more information contact Carrie at or call (705) 313-4385.


Highlighting LBS Online

Digital skills are not just for the individuals who come to our programs to gain computer, tablet, smart phone and office skills. We all need to be learning. This includes those who work as trainers across Ontario.  To be prepared to support learners in reaching their work and academic goals, we need to stay current with our own skills.

Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) is a member of an Ontario wide Digital Literacy Committee.  We are working with an amazing group of individuals committed to providing digital skills training to the people who train others. This is a train-the-trainer series. By staying current we are all better prepared to help learners in our programs as they develop their digital literacy skills.  

As part of this committee, LOCS developed and led a webinar for LBS organizations in Ontario including managers, instructors, practitioners and executive directors. The webinar focused on one aspect of digital skills – online promotion of our services. The webinar offered practical tips for getting found online. In the webinar we talked about what people would search for if their goal was to get their Grade 12, prepare for college or an apprenticeship or gain workplace skills. We talked about making our websites accessible, based on the AODA requirements. We also touched on social media and the value of building a web of connections.

These tips will be helpful to any organization managing a website, so we decided to share the information here so that our partners also have access.

You can watch the webinar available through the Digital Literacy Library.

We have posted a document “Getting Found Online – Resources“. This document has helpful tips as well as links that will help you test and evaluate your current website. 

We have also posted a document “Website Design and Redesign” that will be helpful in assessing your current website when you are making decisions about what you want to add and remove.

Let’s all do what we can to reach learners and clients with information about the training we offer. 

It was wonderful to meet so many people in this webinar who were committed to staying current with their own digital literacy skills.  Ontario is fortunate to have so many great organizations available to support adult learning in the province.

For more information please contact Carrie Wakeford at .