How Essential Skills Profiles can help you!
The essential skills profiles can:
- Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
- Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
- Help employers to create a job posting.
Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Supervisors, Mineral and Metal Processing
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers in the following groups: Central Control and Process Operators, Mineral and Metal Processing (9231), Machine Operators and Related Workers in Metal and Mineral Products Processing (941) and Labourers in Mineral and Metal Processing (9611). They are employed in mineral ore and metal processing plants such as copper, lead and zinc refineries, uranium processing plants, steel mills, aluminum plants, precious metal refineries, cement processing plants, clay, glass and stone processing plants and foundries.
- Read notes from co-workers and text entries in forms. For example, they read notes explaining production losses during preceding shifts in production logs. They read about emergency equipment repairs in co-workers' shift reports. They may scan Material Safety Data Sheets to locate and read sections about the safe handling and storage of hazardous materials. (2)
- Read e-mail, memos and letters from co-workers, colleagues, customers and suppliers. For example, they read e-mail from co-workers who request information about orders in production and confirm completion of tasks. They may read memos from managers about new inspection procedures. They may read letters in which customers complain about products they have received. (2)
- May read equipment brochures, newsletters and trade magazines. For example, they may scan manufacturers' brochures to learn about design features on new equipment. They may also scan trade magazines such as World Cement Journal and Metal Producing and Processing to learn about new products, techniques and trends in their fields. Supervisors in lime and cement plants may read their organizations' newsletters to learn about workplace accidents and methods to use cost-saving alternatives to fossil fuels in kilns. (2)
- Read rules and regulations in bulletins and manuals from government departments and regulatory organizations. For example, they may review rules concerning minimum wages in labour ministry bulletins. They may read about standards such as acceptable thresholds for gas emissions in updates from health and safety commissions. They may also scan regulations in manuals from environment ministries to learn about new procedures to manage waste products. (3)
- Read reports on operations. For example, they may read recommendations to improve productivity in operational audit reports. They read inspection reports about safety equipment and practices from workplace health and safety and insurance boards. (3)
- Read product, equipment and policy and procedure manuals to learn about the operation of new equipment and the implementation of new production methods. For example, they may read their organizations' policies and procedures manuals which describe matters such as risk management for specific job tasks. They may read operating instructions and methods to achieve optimal performance in manuals for new lift trucks and cooler fans. (3)
- May read clauses in collective agreements. For example, they may read clauses in collective agreements to verify disciplinary procedures and review rules concerning the attribution of overtime hours. They may study the new clauses in recently-adopted collective agreements to ensure they understand and adhere to contract provisions. (3)
- Observe warning and regulatory signs. For example, they observe safety signs which indicate pedestrian passageways in plants. They identify and heed lockout signs on equipment undergoing repair and maintenance. (1)
- Locate data on digital counters, gauges and display panels. For example, supervisors in continuous rolling mills may locate speeds of conveyors in metres per minute on digital counters. During shift inspections, forepersons in ore processing plants may check digital displays which show emulsion levels in flotation tanks and gauges which indicate air pressures in air filtering equipment. (1)
- Locate data in lists, tables and schedules. For example, casting room forepersons may obtain furnace start and stop times for continuous rod casting in process control lists. Supervisors in stone products manufacturing plants may locate work centre and operation numbers by product and product category in tables of production data. Forepersons in salt milling plants may check order numbers, product grades and quantities in production and shipping schedules. (2)
- Locate data in forms. For example, refinery supervisors obtain product identification, quantities, work units, delivery areas and dates in work orders. Cement processing supervisors locate operating status, numbers of alarms, pressures, temperatures and air flow rates of pumps, kilns and blowers in equipment inspection forms. Supervisors in graphite processing plants verify inputs such as quantities of raw materials processed and kilowatts of electricity consumed in daily furnace loading sheets and grinding mill logs. (2)
- Enter data into lists, tables and schedules. For example, they enter quantities of safety equipment supplies to inventory lists. They may enter work order numbers, dates requested, completion dates, priority ratings, descriptions and work notes into tables to track equipment maintenance. They may enter employees' names into weekly schedules to rotate process task assignments. (2)
- May locate data in graphs. For example, forepersons in cement plants may locate daily kiln production in bar graphs. Refinery supervisors may scan line graphs of process control data such as temperatures, fuel rates and gas flows in real time to identify variables outside normal ranges. Supervisors in ore processing facilities may review line graphs of the granulometry of daily production to identify nonstandard numbers which may indicate screen breakage. (2)
- May locate dimensions, angles and other data in drawings. They interpret drawings to identify individual parts, sub-assemblies and the appearance of pictured objects. For example, concrete pipe production supervisors may scan technical drawings of concrete pipes on order to identify the angles and locations of access holes for connectors. Iron foundry supervisors may study total weights and design details for specialty castings in technical drawings. (2)
- Complete forms such as waybills, maintenance and shop work orders, production reports, inspection forms and incident reports. For example, they may enter shop order numbers, release dates, dates required, quantities, items to produce, work centres, processes and other data into shop order forms. They enter checkmarks for equipment and operations inspected and text to describe anomalies encountered into plant inspection forms. Supervisors in steel plants enter text into shift summaries to explain orders which exceed normal production time and to note special tasks accomplished. (3)
- May locate data such as devices, flows, procedures, decision points and other features in schematic drawings. For example, metal casting forepersons may locate valves, switches and gas flows in schematic drawings of gas piping to troubleshoot gas leaks. Supervisors in ore processing facilities may study schematic drawings of grinding processes to understand processing systems before introducing new technology. (3)
- Write notes and text entries in forms. For example, they may write entries in inspection forms to record anomalies observed during safety inspections. They may write notes in shift instruction forms to inform process operators of the maintenance status of specific machines and equipment. They may record subjects discussed and actions planned in meeting report forms. They may write factual descriptions of incidents in accident and incident reporting forms. They may write comments in hazardous occurrence investigation forms for government departments. (2)
- Write e-mail to co-workers and suppliers to exchange information, make requests, respond to enquiries and coordinate activities. For example, they may write e-mail to shipping supervisors to advise on earliest shipping dates for orders. They may write e-mail to suppliers to describe the results of tests on proposed new packaging for finished products. (2)
- May write work procedures to explain job tasks. For example, production supervisors in cement processing facilities may write step-by-step work procedures for kiln firing. Supervisors in ore processing plants may write instructions for reprocessing materials which failed to meet quality standards. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
Measurement and Calculation Math
- Monitor monthly and quarterly operation budgets to prevent cost overruns. For example, supervisors in ore processing plants may monitor expenses for production supplies such as grinding slugs, reagents, pallets and bags. (2)
- Prepare and update work schedules for process operators and other workers. They adjust schedules to accommodate sick days, requests for days off, leaves of absence and variations in production. They assign tasks to workers according to their work experience, training and preferences. (3)
- Monitor and may prepare production schedules. For example, they monitor work progress to ensure timely completion of production and maintenance tasks. They may schedule daily and weekly production to meet order delivery dates and inventory targets. They compare actual daily and weekly production volumes to targets and adapt production schedules to manage changes in production volumes, equipment breakdowns and supply shortages. (4)
Data Analysis Math
- Calculate quantities of raw materials, inputs, finished products, supplies and equipment for production, maintenance and repairs. For example, supervisors in continuous cast rod mills calculate the quantities of raw materials to start up weekly production. Supervisors in cement plants may calculate amounts of natural gas needed to fire kilns to specific temperatures. They multiply time estimates for pre-heating and operating by heating rates measured in megajoules per hour and add these to determine the total in gigajoules which they convert to cubic meters of gas to determine quantities to purchase. (3)
- Compare measurements of products and processing variables in machinery and equipment to specifications to verify their adequacy. For example, they compare temperatures in kilns and concentrations of oxygen in smelters to check they fall within standard ranges. They may verify that thicknesses, lengths, widths and diameters in products such as concrete pipes match order specifications. (1)
- Manage inventories of raw materials and finished goods. For example, they verify stocks of materials on hand and consider rates of use, item costs and desired stock levels to manage the inventories. (2)
- Collect and analyse data on production processes variables to optimize production volumes, improve quality and reduce operating expenses. For example, supervisors in clay processing plants may monitor trends in raw material quantities, quality, kiln temperatures and oxygen flows to improve process efficiency and product quality. Supervisors in metal processing plants may analyze the evolution of production variables, such as furnace temperatures and pressures, during tests varying input ratios of scrap metal and raw materials. (3)
- Estimate times to accomplish job tasks using past experience as a guide. For example, they may estimate time required to reprocess products which did not meet standards. (1)
- Speak to co-workers and suppliers about order specifications, deliveries and costs. For example, they may talk to suppliers to place orders for raw material. They may call shipping supervisors to confirm delivery times for finished products. (1)
- Exchange information about ongoing production, maintenance and repair operations with co-workers and service providers. For example, they may remind workers to follow special instructions on specific work orders. They may speak to maintenance contractors to learn about progress on equipment repairs. They may discuss the best time to suspend production to install new equipment with operators and production planners. (2)
- Train, motivate and give directions, suggestions and constructive criticism to subordinates. For example, they train machine operators and labourers under their supervision. They discuss workers' performance during regular evaluations. They intervene to solve conflicts among workers. They conduct periodic safety talks with operators and labourers to maintain and improve workplace safety. (3)
- Discuss improvements to quality and productivity with suppliers and with co-workers such as other production supervisors, quality assurance technicians and metallurgical engineers. For example, supervisors in refineries may facilitate debates among co-workers on topics such as making modifications to heating processes and air flows in refinery furnaces and ovens to improve energy efficiency. Supervisors in ore processing plants may discuss improvements to grinding processes for specific ores with geologists. Supervisors in foundries may speak to suppliers about the advantages and disadvantages of various materials to use for more durable casting moulds. They may negotiate solutions to conflicts between work units with co-workers. (3)
- Find there are not enough workers for production, maintenance and repair activities. For example, when workers call in sick, they find other workers to fill in and then reorganize work schedules to ensure priority tasks are covered. They may ask managers for authorization to hire casual workers when faced with worker shortages due to holiday schedules and extended leaves. They may also cancel and defer production orders if necessary. (2)
- Are unable to meet production targets due to equipment malfunctions, late deliveries of raw materials, poor coordination among work units and human errors. They find short-term solutions to mitigate production delays. They consult co-workers and service providers to develop longer-term process improvements when this is feasible. For example, production supervisors in concrete product plants may discover cement silos are empty when computer records indicate they are full. They verify packing slips of recent deliveries and contact suppliers to learn what has happened. They may negotiate rush deliveries to continue production. Supervisors in ore processing plants may discover that malfunctioning cylinders on loading equipment have not been repaired as requested. They speak to maintenance supervisors to clarify the urgency of repairs. They may also discuss changes to procedures to improve communication on the relative priorities of work orders for maintenance and repairs. (2)
- Find that conflicts among workers have adverse effects on workers' productivity. They meet the workers in question to determine the true nature and extent of the conflicts. They find solutions which address the causes of the conflicts and are acceptable to those involved. They may consult managers and other co-workers for suggestions and read collective agreements to verify their options. (2)
- Assign tasks to operators and labourers. They take into account workers' skills, experience, preferences and availabilities. They also consider clauses in collective agreements which may restrict task assignments. For example, they may assign cleaning tasks to operators during temporary production shutdowns. They may rotate more physically and mentally exhausting tasks among workers by week rather than by month to improve morale. (2)
- May select suppliers and service providers. They take into consideration production requirements, characteristics of the products and services, reliability of suppliers and contractors and costs. They may make these decisions collaboratively with co-workers. (2)
- Choose production operations and sequences to achieve production targets. They take into account numbers of orders, availabilities of workers, equipment and supplies, maintenance needs and operational efficiencies. They also decide to adjust production variables to improve quality when necessary. For example, production forepersons may decide to reduce production levels when numbers of workers are insufficient. They may shut down production areas and redeploy workers to other functions. Plant supervisors in mineral ore processing plants may add grinding slugs to grinding mills when granulometric readings of ground ore do not meet specifications. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Evaluate the suitability of job candidates. They consider candidates' interviews, attitudes, past work experiences, training and demonstrated abilities. They may share responsibility for these evaluations with co-workers on hiring committees. (2)
- Evaluate the competencies and performance of the workers they supervise. They consider workers' skills and knowledge of equipment and processes, consistency and accuracy of record keeping, knowledge and application of safety practices, interactions with co-workers, degree of work satisfaction and work attendance. (3)
- Evaluate safety in their workplaces at regular intervals. They consider workers' comments and observe their use of protective equipment, tools, plant equipment and machinery to assess the prevalence of safe work habits and the use, comfort and availability of safety equipment. They may also review incident reports and workplace safety inspections from external agencies. (3)
- Evaluate efficiency and effectiveness of production processes. They analyze operating variables such as kiln, furnace and leach tank temperatures and the composition of raw materials and quantities of emissions. They observe processes and discuss their findings with operators and other co-workers. For example, production supervisors in precious metal processing may evaluate the effectiveness of processes to pack finished products. Cement processing supervisors may analyze feed and clinker quality measures, material feed speeds, kiln temperatures and other variables to optimize output volumes and quality. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, work in dynamic environments where the requirements of production processes are paramount. They plan and organize their daily tasks to meet the needs of their teams and the targets set by managers. They have to set priorities and work effectively in the face of conflicting demands on their time. They must show flexibility in their daily schedules to provide timely information to others and rapidly troubleshoot production snags and emergencies such as shortages of workers, shortages in raw material stocks and equipment and machinery malfunctions. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, plan and organize production on a daily basis. They prepare schedules and assign tasks to labourers and process and machine operators. Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, may also play a role in monthly and yearly operational planning. For example, they may develop production budgets, participate in setting annual production targets and recommend the acquisition, refurbishing and repair of production equipment. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember details of production processes. For example, forepersons responsible for the production of continuously cast steel billets remember production processes and standards for a wide range of steel grades. Supervisors in mineral processing plants remember to check for contaminated water when mineral ore is not floating normally in flotation tanks.
- Remember identification numbers for products, processes and work centres for efficient record keeping and database entries.
- Search for information on tools and equipment. They speak to operators, mechanics, suppliers and service providers to find information about equipment operation, maintenance and repairs. They conduct Internet searches and scan equipment brochures, newsletters and trade magazines to learn about new tools and equipment. (3)
- Search for information on production processes. They speak to process and machine operators, quality assurance workers and other supervisors and share their observations. They inspect equipment in operation and analyze process control data. They may collaborate to design and run tests on modified equipment and new production methods and analyze results. (3)
- Use word processing. For example, they may use word processing programs such as Word to write, edit and format text for reports and work procedures. (2)
- May use databases. For example, they may use database programs such as Access to track production and maintenance operations. (2)
- May use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, they may use supervisory control and data acquisition software to continuously track production process variables such as furnace temperatures and the chemical composition of molten ores. They may also search for process data on past production runs. (2)
- Use communication software. They use communication software to exchange e-mail and attachments such as digital photographs and reports with co-workers and suppliers. (2)
- Use the internet. For example, they may use browser programs to source new products and equipment and access up-to-date weather reports. They may access their organizations' intranet websites to check inspection reports, look up standards in safety manuals and download forms. (2)
- Use spreadsheets. For example, supervisors may use spreadsheet programs such as Excel to create and monitor budgets and schedules. They may also enter production data and explanations into production report spreadsheets. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, coordinate job tasks with plant managers, maintenance supervisors, sales representatives, technicians and engineers. (3)
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing, participate in ongoing learning to improve management skills, stay current with changes to policies, rules and procedures and operate new equipment. On a day-to-day basis, they acquire new learning through discussions with co-workers and managers. They read memos, equipment brochures, newsletters, trade magazines, collective agreements and bulletins and manuals from regulatory organizations as needed. They occasionally attend suppliers' trade shows and take courses and workshops offered by their own organizations and by regulatory organizations and educational institutions. (2)