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What are Functional Skills qualifications?

What are Functional Skills qualifications?Functional Skills qualifications can show employers that you have the maths, English and IT skills they need.

Functional Skills: the basics

Functional Skills qualifications are designed to show employers that you have essential skills that can be used in a wide variety of jobs. They are available in English, maths and ICT.

The qualifications are available at five different levels: Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Levels 1 and 2. Level 1 is roughly equivalent to half of a grade D/E GCSE, while Level 3 is roughly equivalent to half of a grade B GCSE. Which level is suitable for you will depend on your existing skills and on the requirements of your employer or potential employer.

Functional Skills replaced Key Skills qualifications in September 2012.

How to get Functional Skills qualifications

These qualifications include Functional Skills as part of the standard course:

  • GCSEs
  • The 14-19 Diploma
  • Apprenticeships
  • Foundation Learning

However, you can also get standalone Functional Skills qualifications. To do this, you will need to sign up with a college or a distance learning provider that offers the course you want. Many colleges also allow students on other courses to take Functional Skills qualifications as well at no extra charge.

The maths and ICT courses are assessed with a single final exam, while the English qualification involves exams for reading and writing along with face-to-face assessment of your speaking, listening and communication.