FRTF resource hub

Future Ready Talent Framework

The University of Waterloo developed the Future Ready Talent Framework (FRTF) to help students in their lifelong-learning journey.

The FRTF framework outlines four sets of competencies with a total of 12 competencies needed to navigate the emerging global workplace. 

By understanding these competencies and how to develop them, you can take a fresh look at your career direction.

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Understand and develop your competencies

The FRTF goes a step further than just identification, delving into reflection and development. As you consider the significance of the FRTF and its role in helping you achieve your goals, explore questions like:

  • What does the FRTF mean to me and my future; how can I use it to help me reach my goal?
  • How do I develop these competencies?
  • Have I already been developing them? If so, how?

The Competency Chart presents an opportunity to reflect and record your current competency growth through a future-focused lens. You can explore meaningful connections between today and your future, and set goals to keep you moving forward even when you are unsure about the future of work.

The Competency Goal Setting Worksheet will help you createS.M.A.R.T. goals for competency development to help focus your efforts and increase your chances of achieving your career goals.


Understand key competencies needed to navigate the future of work and learning

Before we get started looking at the competency chart, you may have noticed that we have used the terms skills, abilities and competencies, and you may be asking yourself: if any, what is the difference between those terms? Although it is not uncommon for the terms to be used interchangeably, competencies refer to the skills, abilities and knowledge that lead to superior performance.


It is important to make this distinction because when we approach things as competencies, we get to explore much more than just the learned things we do well (skills), we also get to look at things we are able to do (abilities) and our theoretical and practical understandings of things (knowledge).


Communication is one of the twelve competencies that is often referred to as both a skill and competency. When we approach communication as a competency, it opens up the opportunity to explore the abilities and knowledge alongside the skills that create a good communicator. For example, communication as a competency can include not only writing, public speaking and editing skills but also an ability to listen, empathize and demonstrate cross-cultural communication knowledge.

Let's try this out with critical thinking: what do you think of when you hear that term? What skills do you need to be a good critical thinker?

The skills often associated with critical thinking include: When we approach critical thinking
as a competency, we can open up our
understanding to include:
  • Analytical skills
  • Effective listening skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Evaluation skills
  • Being open-minded
  • Thinking creatively
  • Understanding different groups of knowledge in order to compare and contrast
  • Being able to reflect on learning

Ideally, this leads to not only a more robust understanding of what the term means but also a more robust account of the evidence we have for developing and demonstrating said term.

So, now you may be asking yourself: how does this discussion relate to the Competency Chart? The chart will ask you to identify and reflect on skills, abilities and knowledge associated with each competency. It can be ones you have or ones that you would like to develop. This is your chart to design and set goals for. The main task is to push yourself to explore what each competency consists of, and how you can provide evidence of developing and demonstrating said competency.


Record and reflect on your development

Reflecting on and recording your competency development can provide valuable insights into your career interests, skills, values, and preferences. This self-awareness can lead to a clearer understanding of yourself in relation to your career, resulting in benefits such as

  • quicker employability,
  • improved ability to learn relevant information,
  • reduced indecision about your occupation, and
  • decreased anxiety about future work.

When crafting resumes, cover letters and preparing for interviews, this self-reflection allows you to identify and showcase important skills, abilities and knowledge; providing evidence to potential employers.

The Competency Chart (PDF)presents an opportunity to reflect and record your current competency growth through a future-focused lens. You can explore meaningful connections between today and your future, and set goals to keep you moving forward even when you are unsure about the future of work.

How to use the competency chart


Explore each competency, its description and associated behaviours using the FRTF Overview (PDF).

Skills, abilities and knowledge

Each competency is made up of skills, abilities and knowledge.

  • Record the ones you are developing and the ones you want to develop. Start with 2-4 ideas per competency.
  • Explore common skills, abilities and knowledge associated with each competency with the FRTF Competency Matrix (PDF).

Evidence of development

Record evidence of developing and demonstrating the competency. To help you get started, consider:

  • How can I prove that I can do this?
  • How do I know I have the knowledge and/or ability?
  • Has someone commended me on demonstrating this competency?
  • What experience do I have with this competency?



Skills, abilities and knowledge

  • Effectively communicate using online meeting platforms
  • Listen attentively to others
  • Empathize with others

Evidence I have it

  • Collaborated with 3-person team using Zoom over a two-month project; received excellent evaluation
  • Developed small business go green program based on 7 interviews with company owner and employees
  • Excelled at customer service summer job position that required strong ability to empathize

The Competency Goal Setting Worksheet

Work toward setting goals to future proof yourself

Take a moment to reflect on how and why each competency is important to you and your future. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals for competency development to help focus your efforts and increase your chances of achieving your goals. You can do this with the FRTF Competency Goal Setting Worksheet (PDF). If you would like to speak with a career advisor about the FRTF and your competency chart, book a one-on-oneappointment.

For example: Self assessment competency

An ability to reflect on how one's motivation, strengths and areas of challenge relate to contribution to the workplace. Seek feedback and remain curious and honest regarding one's knowledge, skill and abilities.

Why and how is it important to me and my future?

  • I may be working a contract job and not have access to regular performance evaluations with a supervisor. I need to make sure I know to actively seek feedback and develop skills to help assess my contributions.
  • I'm probably going to have to build new skills many times during my career. In order to do this, I've got to stay motivated and understand my strengths and areas of challenge.

How could I further develop this competency?

  • Seek regular feedback from professors and teaching assistants on my strengths and challenges. Discuss with them areas for improvement.
  • Get feedback from class project group members on my contributions and areas for improvement.
  • Use the FRTF Resource Hub to find a Centre for Career Development workshop that develops self-assessment skills, abilities and knowledge.

FRTF Competency Goal Development


Describe your goal:

Develop a habit of professionally seeking feedback on my performance to gain a better understanding of my skills, abilities and knowledge.


How will you track your progress?

With a goal tracker app. I will outline all steps needed to accomplish my goal and use the app to monitor and record my progress, challenges and achievements along the way.


What are three steps you could take to reach your goal?

  1. Build an easy to complete feedback form to evaluate my performance with a focus on skills, abilities and knowledge
  2. Ask professors/group members to complete feedback form and meet with me to discuss my performance
  3. Follow up with thank you emails to express gratitude and take the opportunity to summarize what I learned. Let them know one step I will take to improve in an identified area of challenge

Why is this goal important to you?

I want to develop the habit of professionally seeking feedback so that I’m motivated to pay attention to my strengths and areas of challenge (because I know I will need to continuously learn and adapt throughout my career).


When will you reach your goal?

When I automatically think to request feedback and look at experiences as an opportunity to learn about my strengths and identify areas of growth.

Reminder: the FRTF Resource Hub identifies University of Waterloo opportunities for competency development to help you reach your goals!

FRTF Catalogue highlights



Information and data literacy


Critical thinking


Innovation mindset

Intercultural effectiveness


Discipline and context-specific skills

Technological agility

Lifelong learning and career development