Functional Skills courses teach people the fundamental English, Maths and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) skills that useful in work and everyday life.
Typically, English and Maths are classed as essential subjects for the majority of training and education programmes. With at least a GCSE grade C/4 in both subjects often being listed as one of the minimum entry requirements for University, A Levels, Diplomas, Foundation Learning Programmes and Apprenticeships.
Functional Skills qualifications are available at several levels, depending on what it is you are looking to achieve and the level of knowledge you desire to gain:
Entry Level 1, 2 & 3 – These are all below GCSE level and are often studied to teach learners the basics in Maths and English that they would use in everyday life. They can act as a refresher course in instances where you need to utilise basic skills, such as helping your children with their homework.
Level 1 – These are equivalent to up to GCSE Grade D (3) and are often studied in preparation for Functional Skills Level 2.
Level 2 – These are equivalent to GCSE Grade C (4) or above. They are often studied in place of GCSE resits to gain the qualifications needed for entry to the workplace or further education.
Functional Skills courses are excellent value both in terms of cost and time. Unlike GCSEs, these courses can be completed in a matter of weeks. With the average course requiring 55 guided hours of study, just 2 hours of study a day would see you potentially qualifying within 4 weeks. Exams can also be taken on a date of your choosing, streamlining the process even further.
These alternate qualifications are now well-recognised by employers and most universities throughout the UK and are widely accepted in place of GCSEs.
Their Difficulty in Comparison to GCSEs
Functional Skills focus on the key skills needed for everyday life. They teach you how to problem-solve and challenge your ability to apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios. They help people overcome their anxieties surrounding these subjects and build confidence.
These qualifications provide adult learners with the knowledge to confidently use English, Maths and ICT skills in everyday life and the workplace. GCSEs on the other hand, have a greater focus on theory and testing your academic ability in addition to providing you with those core skills.
For instance, Functional Skills Level 2 English will concentrate on your reading and writing comprehension. Whereas GCSE English Language explores the science behind the written and spoken word. Delving into the analysis of the syntax, morphology and phonology of the English language.
Arguably, Functional Skills provide students with lasting knowledge by testing their ability in ways that they will utilise throughout life. While many people pass their GCSE’s at 16, many admit to not remembering much of what they learned.
The applied knowledge of Functional Skills subjects in a work context, such as how to format and write a formal letter or email, tends to prove more valuable to students who have tried both types of qualification.
Functional Skills Level 2 therefore is a more hands-on qualification. Exploring only the topics and understanding required to provide real-life application and problem-solving. While they are simpler and quicker to complete, their recognition as a grade C/4 GCSE equivalent qualification does mean you will be required you to meet a certain level of subject proficiency to pass the exam.
To give you a better overview of what to expect, below is a quick rundown of what is involved in each Level 2 course.
Functional Skills English Online Courses
To equip you with the practical skills to communicate effectively and independently at home and in the workplace, Functional Skills English Level 2 will focus on:
Reading – Reading for information such as looking at biased pieces of work to help you to work out how much the opinions of certain authors can be trusted. The different types of layout features and how these can impact the reader.
Writing – The best way to write certain pieces such as letters, newspaper articles, emails and blogs. Testing your spelling, punctuation and grammar skills.
Speaking, Listening and Communication – How to consider information and give a relevant, cogent response. How to contribute to discussions, presenting ideas and information clearly and persuasively, adapting this to suit different audiences, purposes and situations.
Functional Skills Maths Online Courses
Functional Skills Maths Level 2 will provide you with all manner of useful mathematical knowledge to help you through the day to day. Whether it’s how to budget your money or working out discount prices when shopping. It focuses on:
Using numbers – Everything from whole numbers to decimals, fractions and percentages. Learn how to solve real problems using these skills, including making decisions about purchases, using ratios in recipes and work or working out whether your bills are correct.
Understanding measure, shape and space – Looking at topics like area and distance, time, speed and temperature. You’ll understand how to solve problems involving time to plan your home or work life, and how to use your understanding of shape and area to do anything from reading a map to plan a house renovation.
Handling data – How to work with information, such as summarising and presenting information you’ve found and how to understand the information that other people are sharing with you. You’ll also look at probability and how likely certain things are to happen. You will learn how to spot patterns and see how even data and statistics can be biased.
Functional Skills ICT Online Courses
Functional Skills ICT helps you to develop the practical skills needed for using technology in daily life, study and work. Completing Level 2 in this subject will demonstrate you have mastered everyday ICT. Functional Skills (ICT) Levels 1 and 2 covers topics that are explored at both the first and second level:
Fundamentals - The fundamental aspects of using a computer such as managing files, folders, passwords, security and how to deal with common IT issues.
Using email software and the internet - How to use email software to send and receive emails, send attachments and organise your contacts in an address book. Along with how to use the internet effectively and safely.
Word processing - The different features of word processing software to create text-based documents. How to create engaging documents using images, tables and other formatting features.
Spreadsheets - How to use spreadsheets to record information, how to complete calculations to analyse your data in more detail and ways to present data using charts and graphs.
Presentation – Using presentation software programs to create a slideshow with text and images, transitions and animations.
Database - The use of database software to record larger amounts of data and complete more detailed searches for specific information.
Taking Functional Skills Online
Studying online coueses allows you the freedom to qualify and upskill without interrupting your work and other day to day commitments. Should you decide to study an online Functional Skills Level 2 course, you’ll be the one in the driver’s seat of your learning. You can choose when and where you study, how often and therefore how soon you can complete the course and gain your qualification.
Online Functional Skills courses equip you with essential knowledge and skills, as well as specialised support to help you succeed. When you enrol you will benefit from tutorials with an expert tutor, giving you the chance to practice what you’ve learnt in a mock exam.
The tutorials use virtual classroom technology to give you one on one time with your tutor to go through parts of the course you would like more help with. This allows you to get personal guidance and support, and an opportunity to address any questions or problems you may have.
Once you have completed your course material and mock exams, your tutor will determine if you are ready for your exams. This way you only go in for it once you have been given the green light, meaning you will be much more confident in your ability when you take your test.
If you want to demonstrate to employers and further education institutions that you can work independently, solve problems and apply your knowledge to real-life situations, enrol in one of the Functional Skills Level 2 courses provided by learndirect today.
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