Functional Skills is equivalent to GCSE level study with level 2 being the same as grade C/4 and above. They were introduced in 2007 to improve literacy and numeracy skills across the country and upskill employees.
Functional Skills courses available are maths, English and ICT. The core skills you’ll gain from completing any of these courses are essential in many job roles.
More than ever before an understanding of computers and digital software is important to employers.
Technology is constantly evolving and allows us to do tasks that may have taken hours in a matter of minutes. By being able to confidently use a computer you’re improving your employability.
It’s the ideal qualification for those who didn’t get their desired GCSE grade or didn’t take GCSE ICT at all.
Functional Skills qualifications are respected by employers and help your chances of securing a job. They also can provide a foundation of knowledge that you can build on with further study.
However, despite their similarities, they are not identical to GCSEs. And it’s important to be aware of their key features and if they align with your objectives.
What you’ll learn
Functional skills courses are a skills-based qualification. They’re designed to supply students with the practical knowledge in maths, English and ICT for everyday situations.
Unlike GCSEs that are an academic qualification that explore a broad range of topics. Students who opt for GCSEs will gain a solid understanding of key principles and theories on the subject they’re studying.
Functional Skills ICT includes sections on:
Fundamentals – This module will teach you the fundamental aspects of using a computer. You will learn how to manage files and folders and understand passwords and security. You’ll also discover how to deal with common IT issues.
Using email software and the internet – Upon completing this module you’ll be able to confidently use email software. Including sending and receiving emails, adding attachments and organising your contacts. You will also cover how to use the internet effectively and safely.
Word processing – In this module you’ll learn about the different features you can use in word processing software. You’ll learn how to create engaging text-based documents using images, tables and other formatting features.
Spreadsheets – Spreadsheets are often used in many job roles and are a key part of ICT. You’ll cover how to record and analyse data and how to present it using charts and graphs.
Presentation – By the end of this module you’ll have a strong understanding of how to present information in a slideshow. Using presentation software, you’ll learn to use text, images, transitions and animations to present your work.
Database – Understanding databases and how to use them is an advanced ICT skill. You’ll learn to record large amount of data and complete detailed searches for specific information.
How you’re assessed
Throughout your learning you’ll be assessed by online tests. They will allow you to gauge your knowledge and demonstrate your understanding of the concepts covered in the modules.
Once you’ve completed all your modules, you’ll be ready for your final assessment. The Functional Skills ICT is assessed through a single exam. The exam will cover the topics you’ve learn about and apply them to real-life scenarios.
You’re able to sit the exam remotely if you have a webcam and a stable internet connection so the invigilator can observe. If you do not have a webcam, then you will need to book a time slot at an exam centre near you.
GCSEs or Functional Skills?
GCSE ICT or Functional Skills will provide students with the foundational knowledge that is expected in many workplaces.
However, GCSEs are favoured by universities. So, if you’re considering carrying on your education at degree level then it may be a better option.
Although more and more universities are accepting Functional Skills instead of GCSEs. A GCSE will cover more ground whereas Functional Skills provides you with essential skills for employment.
You should also consider the time in which it takes to complete each qualification. GCSEs are usually completed within a year or two, whereas Functional Skills can be completed in a couple of months.
This is ideal if you’re looking to upskill for work as there is very little time in between enrolling and getting qualified.
Neither qualification would be the wrong choice as long as it’s right for your situation.
Achieving your qualification online
ICT Functional Skills can be completed through online learning, which is ideal for a qualification in understanding computers.
By choosing to enrol online you’re able to dictate the speed in which you work at. An ICT Functional Skills course is around 90 guided learning hours. So this means that if you were to study week days for two hours you’d complete the course in 9 weeks.
Of course, you’re completely in control of your learning so use more time if you need to.
Studying online enables you to learn from home whenever is best for you. Whether that’s after the school run or just before an evening shift, it’s up to you.
You won’t have to spend hours trying to rearrange your schedule to fit in classes as there aren’t any. Simply enrol online and begin learning.
Despite the course not being led by a teacher it doesn’t mean you are alone. A dedicated and qualified tutor will be just an email away. So, you can rest assured that if you ever get stuck someone will be there to guide you.
Whatever reason you have for getting qualified learndirect can help.
learndirect is one of the UK’s leading online learning providers offering a range of Functional Skills and GCSE courses.
Our courses have flexible payment options to help you spread the cost and tutor support available too. The experienced tutor will offer constructive feedback and assistance where needed.
Read our blog to learn more on how to prepare for your online learning journey.
If you’re ready to get qualified get in touch with a member of our sales team or enrol online today.