The Department for Education (DfES) defines functional skills as “the core elements of English, mathematics and information communication technology (ICT) that provide an individual with the essential knowledge, skills, and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently effectively and independently in life and at work.”

A key characteristic of functional skills is that they are based on a problem solving approach. Learners who are ‘functionally skilled’ are able to use and apply English/maths/ICT; they know to tackle problems that arise in their life and work.

Functional skills enhance the lives of individuals, improve employability in a changing labour market and develop the skills that the economy and employers need.

The Isle of Wight College is fully committed to developing and improving the skills of young people.  This includes ensuring that learners work towards achieving GCSE grades 4 or above (C – A*) in English and mathematics if they do not already hold these qualifications. English and maths at GCSE grade 4 or above (C – A*)are essential qualifications for progression within further education and to higher education and employment.

Learners who do not hold an grade 4 or above (C – A*) GCSEs in these subjects will be supported to continue to study towards obtaining GCSEs as a part of their 16-19 study programme at college, either via a GCSE route, or, if GCSE is not immediately achievable, through functional skills/bridging qualifications, which are offered from entry level to level 2.

Read on and you will see learners’ own view of how functional skills maths and English has helped them succeed.

I use speaking and listening skills when talking to clients and listening to what they have to say

Phoebe Owen, Hair Level 2

We used maths to sell and promote products and treatments

Hannah Barrett, Beauty Therapy Level 1

Functional skills have helped by building my confidence

Maria Snow, Land and Animal Level 1

I use reading when working on scripts, homework and during functional skills

Christopher Stanley, Performing Arts Entry Level 3

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